Fired Astros Manager A.J. Hinch Speaks Out About Team Cheating Scandal: We Have to 'Be Better'

"I think everyone's going to have to draw their own conclusion," the former MLB manager said of the Astros deserving their 2017 World Series win

AJ Hinch #14 of the Houston Astros looks on during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2019 World Series against the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston
Photo: Bob Levey/Getty

A.J. Hinch, one of the top Houston Astros officials ousted over the teams’ baseball cheating scandal, is speaking out about the team’s legacy amid the controversy.

On Friday’s episode of MLB Tonight, sportswriter Tom Verducci sits down with the former team manager, 45, to discuss the findings from the investigation that determined Astros coaches used cameras to steal pitching signals during the 2017 season.

The revelations put into question whether the Astros rightfully earned their World Series victory that year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It’s a fair question, and I think everyone’s going to have to draw their own conclusion,” says Hinch in a clip from the interview shared by the MLB Network on Facebook.

Hinch says he hopes that “over time it’s proven” that the illegal sign stealing pitching tactics didn’t dictate their tournament win, adding that the Texas team’s talent stands alone.

“I hope, over time and the demonstration with the talents of this team, the players, the careers that are being had — we have some of the best players in the entire sport all together on the same team — I hope over time it’s proven that it wasn’t,” he says. “But I understand the question.”

“Unfortunately, we opened that door as a group, and that question, it may never be answered. We may never know,” Hinch adds.

Last month, following the investigation, the MLB suspended both general manager Jeff Luhnow and Hinch for 2020, but Astros owner Jim Crane chose to later fire them both.

“Neither one of them started this, but neither one of them did anything about it,” Crane said at the time, according to ESPN. “We need to move forward with a clean slate.”

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Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch watches during the seventh inning of Game 4 of the baseball World Series against the Washington Nationals, in Washington World Series Astros Nationals Baseball, Washington, USA - 26 Oct 2019
A.J. Hinch. Jeff Roberson/AP/Shutterstock

“We’re gonna have to live and move forward and be better in the sport,” he says. “Unfortunately, no one can really answer that question. I can’t pinpoint what advantages or … what exactly would have happened otherwise, but we did it to ourselves.”

As part of the team’s punishment, the Astros received a $5 million fine and will lose their first and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.

The investigation kicked off in November when former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers detailed to The Athletic how Houston used a hidden video feed to observe opponents’ pitching signs.

According to ESPN, stealing signs isn’t prohibited in the MLB, but it is seen as bad etiquette. It is prohibited, however, to use electronic equipment to help steal signs.

Watch Tom Verducci’s full interview with A.J. Hinch on Friday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network’s MLB Tonight.

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