Suspended former Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Lunhow could reportedly return to baseball in 2021 even if no games are played this year.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on Wednesday that former Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow would be allowed to return to baseball in 2021 if there is no season this year.
Of course, Hinch and Luhnow were given season-long suspensions for the team’s sign-stealing scandal of 2017.
According to Olney, since the suspensions are through the 2020 postseason, and not specifically a number of games, the league will view their punishments as served.
But what punishment is served?
If no baseball is played, Hinch and Luhnow will have missed nothing.
Of course, other general managers are still able to make necessary roster moves. Trades can still be made, free agents can still be signed, and players have been designated to minor league teams since spring training came to an abrupt end, along with the season not starting on time.
Managers are probably still imagining lineups and keeping in touch with their players. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he recently helped out new ace Gerrit Cole with a bullpen near their homes in Connecticut.
Employed managers and general managers still have a job to do. But there is no season right now and there may not be one.
The purpose of the suspensions were not to stop Luhnow from calling other general managers or Hinch to think of lineups at his dinner table.
The suspensions were brought upon to make Hinch and Luhnow not win a baseball game this season. To not be around players and other team staff. No have zero choice of winning a World Series.
30 managers and 30 general managers still have that opportunity, for now.
This was arguably the worst cheating scandal in all of sports, and maybe a bigger black mark on the sport of baseball than the 1919 Black Sox scandal.
Baseball was already under tons of fire when they decided not to punish any players from the 2017 World Series Champion Astros. Remember, this was a player-driven system (Carlos Beltran was fired by the Mets. Major League Baseball did not discipline him).
They were scrutinized for not stripping the tainted title, all while the Astros hardly shown any legitimate remorse for their actions.
But there is a real chance that the Astros, AJ Hinch, and Jeff Luhnow win the same amount of games this season.
There may not be a paycheck coming for Hinch or Luhnow this season, but if MLB decides to reinstate them in 2021 if no baseball is played this year, justice will, once again, have not been served.