Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman is still bitter about the Houston Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal, pinpointing the “horrific” ordeal for his team’s 13-year dearth of World Series wins.
“I get offended when I start hearing we haven’t been to the World Series since ’09,” Cashman told the Athletic. “I think we actually did it the right way — Pulled it down, brought it back up. Drafted well, traded well, developed well, signed well. The only thing that derailed us was a cheating circumstance that threw us off.”
“The only thing that stopped us [in 2017] was something that was so illegal and horrific.”
The scandal erupted in late 2019, when reports surfaced that the Astros had stationed someone with a video camera in center field of various ballparks, and passed that video live to the dugout — which then alerted batters to the opposing pitchers’ next pitch, by decoding signs from the catcher.
A subsequent investigation from the MLB found that the Astros had engaged in the illicit activity throughout the 2017 season, when they won the World Series, after beating the Yankees in a 7-game American League championship series.
As a result of the scandal, the MLB suspended Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, along with manager A.J. Hinch, for the whole 2020 season. The MLB investigation also forced the New York Mets to part ways with Carlos Beltrán, who they had recently hired to manage the team, but stepped away after he was specifically named in the report.
Cashman, who has served in the Yankees front office since 1998, made clear his belief that the Bronx Bombers would have won their series agains Houston, and possibly beaten the eventual National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I can’t tell you we would have won. I can’t tell you we would have beat the Dodgers. But I do feel pretty confident that that [the Astros] weren’t stopping us — if it wasn’t for those advantages,” he told the Athletic. “It does bother me when it comes up.”
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The team has come under fire from fans for failing to hoist a World Series trophy in the past decade, despite consistently boasting one of the highest total roster salaries in the league.
Still the team has performed respectively during that stretch, and has made the playoffs every year except 3 — 2013, 2014, and 2016 — since their last World Series win. They have not, however, won the ALCS in recent years.
The team is currently tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for the second-best odds to win the title this season at +900 (meaning bettors would win $9 for every $1 wagered), behind only the Los Angeles Dodger at +475.
The Yankees will open the season at home in the Bronx against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, April 7.