Yankees GM still upset about 'illegal and horrific' playoff loss to cheating Astros

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is focused on 2022, but he's still a bit salty about the past.

In an interview with The Athletic's Andy McCullough about the Yankees' 12-season World Series drought, Cashman couldn't help but bring up the 2017 Yankees, a team that lost to the sign-stealing Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series. Cashman was pretty blunt about the situation: he believes the cheating Astros unfairly stopped the Yankees from making it to the World Series.

“The only thing that stopped [us] was something that was so illegal and horrific,” Cashman told The Athletic at George M. Steinbrenner Field. “So I get offended when I start hearing we haven’t been to the World Series since ’09. Because I’m like, ‘Well, I think we actually did it the right way.’ Pulled it down, brought it back up. Drafted well, traded well, developed well, signed well. The only thing that derailed us was a cheating circumstance that threw us off.”

It's totally understandable that Cashman is still upset. He believes the 2017 Yanks were a World Series team, and even though it was categorically proved that the Astros cheated, Houston still has its World Series trophy, all the players — including those who actively participated in the sign-stealing — still have their rings, and the manager who let it all happen is back in MLB and managing the Detroit Tigers.

Meanwhile, the Yankees, one of the direct victims of the Astros cheating scheme, got unceremoniously eliminated and have nothing but a string of "what ifs" to show for it.

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 12:  New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks on the phone prior to a Grapefruit League spring training game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on March 12, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Many professional and college sports are canceling or postponing their games due to the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Yankees GM Brian Cashman believes the Astros cheated the 2017 Yankees out of a World Series appearance. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

A different sign-stealing scandal

Cashman is right to still be upset about the Astros cheating the Yankees out of a possible World Series appearance, but the Astros aren't the only team with a history of cheating.

In a coincidence engineered by the baseball gods, Cashman spoke about the Astros sign-stealing scandal just days after a judge ordered that a letter from commissioner Rob Manfred to the Yankees be unsealed and made public. That letter concerns a 2017 kerfuffle between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox in which the Sox were fined for using Apple Watches to steal signs.

In turn, the Red Sox alleged that the Yanks used their TV cameras to gain a competitive advantage. MLB didn't find "sufficient evidence" that the Yankees used cameras for nefarious purposes, but they were fined a smaller amount for improper use of dugout phones.

The Yankees and MLB have continually fought to keep the letter sealed, even though the judge said that league press releases had mostly revealed the contents of the letter. It's possible the letter could reveal more about the Red Sox's TV camera accusations, which would make Cashman's comments about the Houston's "illegal and horrific" cheating unbelievably hilarious.

The Yankees and MLB still have the opportunity to appeal the judge's decision, so we may not get to read that letter just yet.