Please don’t try to rehabilitate Jeff Luhnow

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Listen, I understand what the New York Post’s Joel Sherman was going for in a recent piece on the Astros, I really do. He tried to couch it all, and repeatedly, in language that protected him from saying the sign-stealing the Astros performed in 2017 was acceptable. His goal was instead to point out that what Jeff Luhnow built was more than a team that stole signs through an elaborate ploy involving technology en route to a World Series championship. And that’s true! Jeff Luhnow, as general manager of the Astros, did help build a team that continues to be competitive to this day, even two years removed from his direct influence at the top of baseball operations.

Here’s Sherman on Luhnow:

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Jeff Luhnow is suing the Astros, claiming he’s a scapegoat

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Former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow is suing his old team as well as Major League Baseball, according to the Los Angeles Times. Luhnow has been on something of an “I’m innocent!” tour of late, with regards to whether he knew anything about the Astros’ elaborate sign-stealing operation, and all of that was likely a way to plow the road for this lawsuit.

You are probably wondering why I’m bothering to write about this instead of just laughing it off as a desperate move by Luhnow to clear his name — and I cannot tell you how much I wish I were able to do that — but there might be a nugget of truth in here somewhere. Not regarding his innocence, of course: Luhnow definitely knew something was up, I do not care how many thousands of carefully curated text messages he brags about to tell you the opposite is true. The part of Luhnow’s suit that got my attention had to do with MLB and the Astros negotiating a punishment. Per the Times:

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Mike Elias, ex-Luhnow acolyte, under investigation for O’s pension fraud

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Mike Elias might not have worked directly for efficiency-obsessed McKinsey, but his former boss and former general manager of the Astros, McKinseyite Jeff Luhnow, certainly rubbed off on him. You can see it in the way Elias runs the Orioles, trimming costs wherever possible, and, apparently, when it comes to breaking rules.

Luhnow is casting blame for the Astros’ sign-stealing on the people who used to work for him, people like Elias, and while that might be true, Luhnow was certainly involved, too, regardless of how much he says he was not during lengthy interviews.

Sign-stealing isn’t the topic of the day when it comes to Elias, though, even if Luhnow is hoping to clear his name by vaguely squealing on everyone who was in on the plan with him. No, the Orioles’ general manager potentially found a different rule to break. According to the New York Daily News, Elias is being investigated by MLB for pension fraud:

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