Manfred stands by choice to not discipline Astros players
Alex Trautwig / Major League Baseball / Getty

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has been criticized the past month for not punishing any of the players involved in the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

Manfred said during an interview with ESPN's Karl Ravech that he understands the anger directed at him but stands behind his decision to not discipline any players.

The league granted immunity to Astros players in exchange for providing information that eventually led to Houston's punishment.

"You could have made a choice to go with the management people, and sort of given them immunity and found out how the players were involved," Manfred said. "Whatever dissatisfaction is out there with the grant of immunity to players, I think it would have been 10-times worse if you let the management people off and then tried to go after the players."

Manfred added that the MLB Players Association likely would have filed a grievance against the league for any discipline handed to players.

Carlos Beltran, who retired after the Astros won the 2017 World Series, was the only player named in Manfred's investigation. Shortly after his prominent role in the scheme was revealed, Beltran left his post as manager of the New York Mets.

Astros owner Jim Crane faced no personal discipline, while manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were each suspended for one year and subsequently fired. Manfred stood by the decision to not punish Crane, telling Ravech he was prepared to discipline an owner "if I felt that was appropriate."

The Astros were stripped of multiple draft picks and fined $5 million.

Additionally, Alex Cora - who was the Astros' bench coach in 2017 and is also under investigation for possible illegal sign-stealing while managing the Red Sox - lost his job in Boston.

Manfred added that he felt the Astros' attempts to apologize this week were, in his eyes, "not successful." Star players Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman issued brief statements Thursday ahead of ones made by Crane and new manager Dusty Baker.

The commissioner also revealed the league will likely have a new policy before Opening Day that addresses the use of in-game technology. It was reported last month that MLB and the players' association were discussing new rules to monitor the use of such technology and punish those who abuse it to cheat.

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Manfred stands by choice to not discipline Astros players
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