Though it seems ages ago, it was just this past January that the Astros were punished for the sign-stealing scandal that rocked Major League Baseball's offseason. The two main casualties were then-manager A.J. Hinch and then-GM Jeff Luhnow. Both were suspended for the 2020 season and subsequently fired by owner Jim Crane.
For the first time since everything went down, Luhnow opened up on a no-holds-barred interview. Click 2 Houston has the full transcript from what it says was a 37-minute interview. His side of the story is that he knew absolutely nothing about any of the cheating.
"I didn't know we were cheating. I had no idea. I wasn't involved. Major League Baseball's report stated that I didn't know anything about the trash can banging scheme. They stated I might have known something about the video decoding scheme and not paid it much attention. But there was really no credible evidence of that claim. I didn't know. I didn't know about either of them. And it felt like, on that day, that I was getting punished for something that I didn't do. And it didn't feel right."
Luhnow said that he had multiple conversations with Hinch and the coaching staff and that he monitored the clubhouse. He said he followed up multiple times. He says he has evidence that he didn't know, though admitting it's tough to prove that.
"And then after the investigation was over and I was fired, I got access to about 22,000 text messages that were from personnel in the video room. And it was clear from those messages that they were communicating back and forth about the rule violations. They were aware of the Red Sox and Yankees rule violations, they were aware it was wrong, and they also were using text messages to cheat on the job. They were communicating signs, and this was to coaches, to people in the video room. It's all there in black and white. And what's also clear from it is who's not involved. I'm not implicated. I'm not in any of those text messages. In fact, there's a few text messages where they say 'Don't tell Jeff.'
Luhnow also seems to implicate a current Astros employee, though it's unclear exactly who.
"In fact, one of the people who was intimately involved, I had demoted from a position in the clubhouse to a position somewhere else, and after I was fired he was promoted back into the clubhouse. So none of those people faced any repercussions. They weren't discussed in the report, but the evidence is all there that they were involved."
Another big takeaway was that Luhnow says he offered to take a lie-detector test.
"He turned down my offer to do a polygraph test. I don't know how much of the 150-page binder he read, but none of it made its way into the final report, so frankly, he had his mind made up. He was going to punish me. There was nowhere else to go. He was going to punish AJ [Hinch], as well, and AJ admitted that he knew."
There's a lot more so anyone interested should certainly read the full interview. The biggest takeaways are that Luhnow is vehement in his denial of any knowledge of the sign-stealing operation and that he is angry that he didn't get to continue with the Astros' juggernaut he built.
Let's also look big picture here with Luhnow eligible to get back into baseball for the 2021 season. The Angels have an opening at the top of their front office after firing Billy Eppler and Luhnow has been connected in rumors with the job. As such, don't expect this Luhnow interview to be the last we hear of him denying any involvement with the scandal.