Former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow sued the organization for breach of contract, claiming he was the victim of a conspiracy to make him the “scapegoat” for the sign-stealing scandal, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In the suit, Luhnow alleges Astros owner Jim Crane and Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred reached a “negotiated resolution” to pin the blame on Luhnow in order to save more than $22 million in guaranteed salary, per the report.
Luhnow was suspended by MLB for the 2020 season and then fired – along with manager A.J. Hinch – by Crane for his role in the scandal. Hinch served his suspension and recently was hired as the manager of the Detroit Tigers. Luhnow remains out of baseball.
Luhnow filed the suit in Texas district court in Houston, per the report.
Luhnow has maintained his innocence and last month again asserted that he had no knowledge of the operation that used technology to improperly decode signs in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
“It’s pretty clear who was involved in the video-decoding scheme, when it started, how often it happened and basically when it ended. And it’s also pretty clear who was not involved,” Luhnow told KPRC in Houston last month. “And I don’t know why that information, that evidence, wasn’t discussed in the ruling, wasn’t used. The people who were involved that didn’t leave naturally to go to other teams are all still employed by the Astros.”
Manfred issued a retort.
“Whether he exactly knew what was going on or not is really beside the point. After the Apple Watch incident (when the Red Sox used the devices to steal signs against the Yankees), I wrote to all the GMs. I put them on notice that it was their obligation to make sure that their organizations were not violating any of the sign-stealing rules,” Manfred said in a subsequent ESPN radio interview.
The Astros won the World Series in 2017, a season in which they were using the system extensively.
Luhnow spent eight seasons as Houston’s general manager prior to his dismissal.