Former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow once again denied having knowledge of the team's illegal sign-stealing during its 2017 championship season.
In an exclusive interview with KPRC's Vanessa Richardson, Luhnow - who the Astros fired in January after he and then-manager AJ Hinch were suspended for one year by MLB - claimed he has "a lot of evidence" that would back up his words. This includes thousands of text messages and documents used in commissioner Rob Manfred's investigation.
"After the investigation was over and I was fired, I got access to about 22,000 text messages that were from personnel in the video room," Luhnow told Richardson. "And it was clear from those messages that they were communicating back-and-forth about the rule violations. They were aware of the (Boston) Red Sox and (New York) Yankees rule violations, they were aware it was wrong, and they also were using text messages to cheat on the job. They were communicating signs, and this was to coaches, to people in the video room. It’s all there in black and white.
"And what's also clear from it is who's not involved. I'm not implicated. I'm not in any of those text messages. In fact, there's a few text messages where they say, 'Don't tell Jeff.'"
Luhnow clarified that this evidence is in regard to the Astros' video system used to steal opponents' signs - known, according to a February report, as "Codebreaker" - as opposed to "the trash-can banging" scheme.
Manfred's investigation found there was enough evidence to show that Luhnow knew about the team's conduct, which led to his suspension.
The former executive also shed some light on his multiple meetings with Manfred in January. Luhnow claims Manfred ignored his defense, which included a 150-page binder he put together, and turned down his request to take a lie detector test.
Additionally, Luhnow - who also said he's considering trying to get back into baseball or, perhaps, a different professional sports league once his suspension ends - also took issue with being portrayed as the architect of the Astros' scheme.
"Major League Baseball said I wasn't involved in the trash-can banging, and they say I didn't direct and wasn't involved in the video scheme," Luhnow said. "The only thing they hung their hat on is that I might have known and that I was the general manager. And I'll take my punishment for being the general manager because what happened, happened while I was there. But, think about (it) for a second, all of the people who are with the organization that ... no one questions why they didn't know. ... Why is it all on me?
"And to read, I mean, everybody likes to boil things down to soundbites, or Twitter, or tweets. 'Luhnow's the mastermind,' 'Luhnow was behind this,' 'This is Luhnow's culture.' It's not. It couldn't be further from the truth. And I have to let people know that."