Blue Jays: Derek Fisher should get a pass on Astros’ scandal

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Derek Fisher #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 18, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Derek Fisher #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 18, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /
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Even though Derek Fisher was in Houston during their tainted championship season, the Blue Jays and their fans should give him a pass on this one.

The Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal is the story that just won’t go away, and frankly, I’m all for it. That’s what happens when the league office dolls out a relatively light punishment for one of the worst cheating scandals in the history of the league.

As a result, the story continues to gain steam even as teams have now reported to Spring Training. For the Blue Jays, there are three (technically four) people that were working in Houston during their championship 2017 season, which is the main point of contention for furious players around the big leagues. That would be Ken Giles, Derek Fisher, Dave Hudgens, and technically Teoscar Hernandez, although he only logged one at-bat with the Astros before getting traded to Toronto, so I think he’s off the hook.

Giles a pitcher, so there’s only so much you can expect him to do while sitting in the outfield bullpen. We don’t know if he was opposed to what was going on at the time, or how fully aware he was, but I don’t think many folks are targeting former Astro pitchers. They are quite upset with the coaching staff though, and that extends to Hudgens, even if he’s now working for the Blue Jays. As for Fisher, I’d like to make the argument that he should get a pass for what happened that year.

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The now 26-year-old spoke to the media, including Sportnet’s Shi Davidi about his time in Houston during that 2017 season, and even went as far as apologizing for his role in what happened.

The thing is though, he was barely a culprit at all according to the data from signstealingscandal.com, which showed that Fisher only heard 16 “bangs” on 211 pitches he faced. It looks like he cheated, and he didn’t deny anything when he was asked about it, but it was very minimal.Fisher only had 312 plate appearances in the big leagues from 2017-2019 before he was dealt to the Blue Jays, with 166 of them coming during that 2017 campaign. That said, it obviously didn’t help him that much, as he slashed just .212/.307/.356 that year.

“You look back and regret what happened and you regret the place you were in to possibly do something. … I apologize and I regret everything.”

The thing is, there’s no way that Fisher could have done anything in 2017, and anyone who thinks otherwise is being pretty naive.

In 2017, Fisher was a highly touted rookie that was joining a true championship contender, and one that was riddled with established stars like Jose Altuve, Carlos Beltran, George Springer, Carlos Correa, and more. He didn’t make his MLB debut until June 14th against the Texas Rangers, and by then the sign-stealing operation was well underway. Do you think a rookie is going to come into a pennant race and tell someone like Beltran what to do, or how things are done in the big leagues?

No, you sit down, be quiet, and hope to learn from the veterans around you. In this case, Fisher was put in an impossible situation, assuming he had any problem with what was going on. It’s possible that he was totally in favour, but again, what was he going to say if he had any sort of problem with it? This was an operation that was being led by several players, but even coaches like Alex Cora were there and involved.

For a rookie like Fisher at that time, the best thing he could do was put his head down and try to earn playing time. Opposing the coaching staff or the veteran leaders about their integrity would have had him quickly shipped back to Triple-A, and you just can’t guarantee how many times you’re going to be promoted, even as a former first round pick.

Next. Yes, be excited about Teoscar Hernandez in 2020. dark

I’m glad that this Astros story hasn’t gone away yet, and I’m pleased that there are several parties who have been held accountable. That said, I believe there is more work to be done, and that includes with current Astros players. As far as disciplining someone like Fisher though, or even holding this whole thing against him, I don’t think that’s fair at all.

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