Dodgers: Analyst Gives a ‘Pass’ to Free Agent Pitcher Caught Up in 2017 Cheating Scandal

Dodgers analyst Jerry Hairston Jr. says Justin Verlander gets “a pass” on the 2017 Astros cheating because, as a pitcher, he wasn’t really involved.

The Dodgers are looking for starting pitching, and one of the biggest names on the free-agent market is Justin Verlander, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and future Hall of Famer. The only downsides are he’s about to turn 40, he’s going to cost a crapload of money, and he was a member of the 2017 Astros who cheated to steal the World Series title from the Dodgers.

For SportsNetLA analyst Jerry Hairston Jr., though, that last bit doesn’t concern him.

“Position player and pitcher, totally different. Pitchers aren’t aware of what’s going on, really, when it comes to swinging the bat, what kind of signs are given in the dugouts, on the field. So I would say you give a pass to a guy like a Justin Verlander because all he really cares about is taking the ball and shutting down the opposition. That’s all his thought process is. It’s not a position player where they’re in the middle of it, in the hitters’ meeting, ‘this is what we’re going to do to make sure we have the advantage.’ So this is definitely apples to oranges here. [Carlos] Correa and Verlander, they’re not in the same universe when it comes to something like this.”

In a way, Hairston is right. If nothing else, Verlander wasn’t an active part of the cheating. And JHair doesn’t even mention that Verlander was acquired in August of that year, when the cheating was already firmly established.

Still, we can’t just wave our hands and say, “He’s a pitcher, he didn’t know anything.” Starting pitchers spend all their time in the dugout, which is where the cheating happened, and the commissioner’s report on the Astros specifically said that “everyone proximate to the Astros’ dugout presumptively heard or saw the banging.”

To be clear, Verlander knew the Astros were cheating. To the extent that he “gets a pass,” it’s because he wasn’t a participant in the cheating and, as a new player on the team, wasn’t really in a position of team leadership to put a stop to it, not because he didn’t know about it.

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