Earlier this week,. The team had a center field camera fixed on the catcher, someone decoded the signs on a monitor in the hallway between the dugout and clubhouse, and banged a garbage can to relay incoming pitches to the hitter.
In a new report, Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic report an Astros front office executive (identified by ESPN's Jeff Passan as Kevin Goldstein, a special assignment to GM Jeff Luhnow) sent an email to the team's scouts suggesting they use a camera to steal signs during the 2017 postseason. From Rosenthal and Drellich:
"One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout," the email's sender wrote in a message from August of 2017. "What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to game, see what you can (or can't) do and report back your findings."
An email from the front office to the scouting staff discussing the use of cameras to steal signs is a damning piece of evidence, and the Rosenthal and Drellich report says the Astros also discussed stealing signs with their scouts over the phone and in an online chat room.
Several scouts told Rosenthal and Drellich they were appalled at the suggestion of using cameras to pick up the other team's signs. It is common for scouts to try to decode the opposing team's signs, but they try to do it with their eyes alone..
MLB does not have rules against stealing signs. There are rules about the use of electronic devices and other technology, however, and using them in the way the Astros are alleged to have used them are against those rules. Those rules became even more stringent after the Red Sox were found to have used Apple watches as part of a sign-stealing scheme in 2017.
Commissioner Rob Manfred and his staff are in the process of interviewing members of the 2017 Astros,, about the alleged sign-stealing scheme.