Ex-MLB pitcher Mike Bolsinger files lawsuit against Astros over cheating scandal
The ramifications of the Houston Astros’ illegal sign stealing in 2017 are now headed for the legal system.
Former MLB pitcher Mike Bolsinger, who was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017, filed a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday. He accuses the Astros of unfair business practices, negligence, and intentional interference with contractual and economic relations.
Bolsinger is not only seeking unspecified damages for himself, but is also seeking to force the Astros to donate the $31 million windfall from their 2017 World Series title to children’s charities and to start a fund benefiting retired players.
Bolsinger was not a high-profile victim of the Astros’ cheating, but his story is a sad one. He faced Houston on Aug. 4, 2017, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks in only a third of an inning. He was demoted after that game, and has not pitched in the majors since. Analysis by Astros fan Tony Adams indicates that there were 54 audible trash can bangs in that game, including on 12 of the 29 pitches Bolsinger threw.
“I don’t know if I’ve had a worse outing in my professional career,” Bolsinger told Nancy Armour of USA Today. “I remember saying, ‘It was like they knew what I was throwing. They’re laying off pitches they weren’t laying off before. It’s like they knew what was coming.’ That was the thought in my head.”
Bolsinger said he wants to send a message to youth that they can succeed without cheating, and added that he feels MLB’s punishment was far too lenient considering the benefits the organization received from their cheating.
“I don’t think the punishment has fit the crime,” Bolsinger said. “And let’s be honest, all these guys are going to get managing jobs again. … Guys like us that were cheated? I don’t have a job. I’m not playing.”
The Astros will likely argue that Bolsinger’s 4.92 career ERA indicates that his one outing against them was never going to make or break his career, but it’s easy to see why he feels like he got a raw deal. Had he been able to pitch against the Astros on a fair playing field, perhaps he would not have been demoted and had a chance to prove himself to the Blue Jays for the rest of that season. It’s also easy to see why he thinks the Astros got off easily. He’s surely not the only player whose career was negatively impacted by what the Astros were doing, though there is a reason that the players came away from the whole affair unscathed in terms of league punishment. Bolsinger’s legal action may be a longshot, but it will be interesting to see where it goes and if it leads to any new information coming out about what Houston did.