November 22, 2019 / 2:09 AM / 22 days ago

MLB notebook: Astros’ investigation widens to 2018-19

The investigation of the Houston Astros’ alleged sign-stealing scandal has been extended beyond 2017 to include the 2018 and 2019 seasons, commissioner Rob Manfred disclosed Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Rob Manfred, commissioner of Major League Baseball, takes part in the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in New York, U.S., February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

“We are talking to people all over the industry, former employees, competitors, whatever,” Manfred said as the owners meetings concluded Thursday in Arlington, Texas. “To the extent that we find other leads, we are going to follow these leads. We will get to the bottom of what we have out there in terms of what went on to the extent that it’s humanly possible.”

According to an earlier report in the Houston Chronicle, clubhouse video room monitors were instructed by MLB before the 2019 season to check for banging noises inside the Astros dugout at their home stadium, Minute Maid Park. That might indicate that MLB already knew about possible sign-stealing tactics before this latest investigation began.

“Every time we’ve gotten a lead, we chased that lead down to the extent we felt was investigatively possible,” Manfred said. “Obviously an individual breaking what is a pretty firm commitment to silence about what goes on in dugouts and clubhouses is a big break in an investigation and an opportunity to push forward that we hadn’t had previously.”

—The Chicago White Sox agreed to terms on a four-year, $73 million contract with free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal.

Grandal will receive $18.25 million per season through 2023 on a contract that sets a franchise record for total money.

The two-time All-Star enjoyed a career season with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019, recording personal-best totals in home runs (28), RBIs (77), runs scored (79) and walks (109) to go along with a .246 batting average. He has batted .241 with 141 homers and 416 RBIs in 879 career games.

—MLB owners unanimously approved the sale of the Kansas City Royals to a group led by John Sherman, the former part-owner and chairman of the Cleveland Indians.

Former Royals owner and CEO David Glass reportedly is selling the Royals to Sherman and his group for close to $1 billion.

Glass, 84, bought the team for $96 million in April 2000. He had served the previous 6 1/2 years as CEO and chairman of the team following the death of founding owner Ewing Kauffman, for whom the Royals’ home stadium is still named. Sherman, 64, had to divest himself of ownership of the Indians to make the transaction happen. He is the CEO of Kansas City-based MLP Holdings and is on the board of trustees for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

—The Philadelphia Phillies hired Joe Dillon as their hitting coach for the 2020 season.

Dillon, 44, most recently served as assistant hitting coach of the Washington Nationals for the past two seasons under hitting coach Kevin Long.

Prior to his time with the World Series champion Nationals, Dillon spent two seasons as the minor league hitting coordinator for the Miami Marlins from 2016-17. His coaching career began with the Nationals as hitting coach for Triple-A Syracuse for two seasons from 2014-15.

—Field Level Media

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