ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Days after Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired following Major League Baseball’s sign-stealing investigation, the Houston Astros caravan headed to Dell Diamond in Round Rock for events and a meet and greet with fans.
The aftermath from the MLB’s decision is still shaking the front office in Houston. A team that came just shy of its second World Series title in three seasons last year is on the precipice of the 2020 season without two of its main leaders.
Reid Ryan, the son of Nolan Ryan and longtime team executive, was in Round Rock Wednesday to meet with the media.
“This has been a crazy week. Here we are on Wednesday so this thing is still very fresh,” Reid Ryan said.
Ryan has seen his role change within the organization going from team president to an executive adviser in November 2019.
The Astros knew the potential punishment could be very harsh. Ryan said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a previous meeting that the next team caught cheating with electronics was “going to feel the wrath.”
The Astros are still an extremely talented team on the field, but the punishment will hit the once shining example of baseball success at its core.
“In some ways this kind of feels like SMU in the 80s because it wasn’t that this wasn’t going on throughout the industry. It doesn’t make it right. The fact the investigation proved what it proved…everyone knew that there were going to be strong consequences.”Reid Ryan on MLB’s punishment
Lost in the personnel punishments, the Astros will also forfeit their first and second-round picks for 2020 and 2021 which will hurt the organization in several years.
“The draft picks are going to be tough down the road. You won’t see those in the short-term,” Ryan said Wednesday.
Top Houston Astros prospect Forrest Whitley, who was also part of the caravan, has a chance to make an impression on the big league club this spring training. The Astros weren’t able to re-sign Gerrit Cole in the offseason. 2019 Express MVP Kyle Tucker also spoke to the media Wednesday.
In 2018, the minor-league Round Rock Express changed its affiliation to the Houston Astros.