On Wednesday, MLB released a statement saying the league was alerted to possible sign stealing schemes and other improper use of video equipment prior to the postseason, and thus implemented additional security measures. Here is the league's full statement:
"Before the Postseason began, a number of Clubs called the Commissioner's Office about sign stealing and the inappropriate use of video equipment. The concerns expressed related to a number of Clubs, not any one specific Club. In response to these calls, the Commissioner's Office reinforced the existing rules with all playoff Clubs and undertook proactive measures, including instituting a new prohibition on the use of certain in-stadium cameras, increasing the presence of operations and security personnel from Major League Baseball at all Postseason games and instituting a program of monitoring Club video rooms.
"With respect to both incidents regarding a Houston Astros employee, security identified an issue, addressed it and turned the matter over to the Department of Investigations. A thorough investigation concluded that an Astros employee was monitoring the field to ensure that the opposing Club was not violating any rules. All Clubs remaining in the playoffs have been notified to refrain from these types of efforts and to direct complaints about any in-stadium rules violations to MLB staff for investigation and resolution. We consider the matter closed."
MLB's statement confirms McLaughlin, the Astros employee, was monitoring the other team's dugout to ensure they were not violating any rules. He was watching their dugout to ensure they weren't stealing signs or doing something else nefarious. By watching the other dugout, he broke the rules to make sure the other team wasn't breaking the rules, basically.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Wednesday the team was "playing defense" by monitoring their opponents, and that such surveillance is routine when on the road. Luhnow added the Astros found no wrongdoing by the Red Sox at Fenway Park in ALCS games 1-2, though they did report rules violations involving other teams to MLB at times earlier this year.
Since the matter is closed, the Astros nor any other teams will be disciplined for these incidents. Sign stealing is not against the rules, but improper usage of electronic equipment is, and this violation was not deemed severe enough for further punishment. Last year the Red Sox, which are banned.