Astros’ owner claims MLB exonerated him in cheating scandal

Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

As the Houston Astros battle a lawsuit from a former MLB player over the team’s sign-stealing scandal, team owner Jim Crane is reportedly claiming in court that he should be immune from the lawsuit because MLB exonerated him.

According to The Athletic, Crane submitted a legal filing on Monday that claims he wasn’t involved in any of the team’s alleged rules violations and MLB cleared him of any wrongdoing.

“I was not involved in any alleged rules violations by the Astros,” Crane said, via The Athletic. “Major League Baseball conducted an investigation into potential rules violations by the Astros. That report explicitly exonerated me and stated that I was unaware of and had no involvement in any rules violations by the Astros.”

Former MLB pitcher Mike Bolsinger is currently suing the Astros in a Los Angeles County Superior Court. Bolsinger, who pitched in the majors from 2014-’17, is suing the team and owner Jim Crane for the sign-stealing scandal that he said altered his career.

Bolsinger’s last appearance came on Aug. 4, 2017, against the Astros. In that appearance he allowed four runs, three walks and four hits with just one out recorded.

The Astros’ lawyers have filed for the judge overseeing the case to be removed for bias, despite providing no evidence to support it. Meanwhile, the team is also pushing to either have the case thrown out or moved to Texas. The team’s lawyers are also reportedly still questioning whether or not sign-stealing significantly impacted the outcome of games.

In MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s report, which found that the Astros cheated during the 2017 and ’18 seasons, Crane was not exonerated. While Manfred stated that the investigation found no evidence Crane was aware of the conduct, it never specifically stated he was exonerated. Furthermore, MLB referred the Athletic back to the commissioner’s report when asked specifically if Crane was exonerated.

It’s also worth noting that the organization was still fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under MLB rules, in addition to the loss of draft picks and suspensions of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.

Bolsinger is seeking damages from the organization and for the team to give the approximately $31 million it received in World Series bonuses, to local charities.