Updated with more information at 8:50 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2019.
Rick Honeycutt won a World Series championship as an Oakland Athletics pitcher back in 1989 and nearly earned another as the Los Angeles Dodgers' pitching coach in 2017.
The Dodgers lost the 2017 World Series in seven games to the Houston Astros, but the general manager, manager and bench coach from that Houston team are currently out of work as a result of a Major League Baseball investigation that determined the Astros were stealing signs at Minute Maid Park through the use of a center-field camera.
"The commissioner has gotten to the nuts and bolts of what happened and what the Astros were doing," Honeycutt said Wednesday. "We had plenty of thoughts, but nobody knew exactly to what extent, especially setting up a camera in center field and being able to relay that. You've always had guys trying to give the location of pitches when they're on second base, but obviously this was to another level.
"Whether or not you agree or disagree with the punishment, at least the cat is out of the bag. Baseball wants to play the game on the field and not electronically, and we'll see how things go moving forward."
Honeycutt, the former Lakeview High School and University of Tennessee standout, stepped aside in October after 14 years as Dodgers pitching coach that included 10 postseason appearances. He remains in the organization as a special assistant.
The Dodgers and the Astros split the first two games in Los Angeles during the 2017 World Series, but Houston pounced on Game 3 starter Yu Darvish for four second-inning runs. Darvish entered that game on a roll, having posted a 1.59 ERA in his previous two starts.
Clayton Kershaw pitched a Game 1 gem, allowing one run in seven innings and racking up 11 strikeouts without allowing a walk, but he was roughed up for six runs in 4 2/3 innings during Game 5 at Houston.
"I remember looking at Clayton's game down at Houston, and the big blow was the home run in the fifth inning," Honeycutt said. "I always look at the games the next day to see if we made a bad pitch selection, and they laid off some unbelievable pitches in that game. In those two games, they scored 18 runs and had 26 hits.
"We still had the chance to clinch it at home in Game 7 and didn't, but there were obviously some things that didn't quite add up when you go back and look at some of those games."
Houston's bench coach in 2017, Alex Cora, became Boston's manager for the 2018 season, with the Red Sox topping the Dodgers in that year's World Series in five games. The Red Sox are under investigation for stealing signs as well, and Cora and the team parted ways Tuesday, a day after the Astros fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.
Carlos Beltran, the designated hitter for the 2017 Astros who was named manager of the New York Mets in November, may not be long for his job, either.
The Dodgers haven't won a World Series title since 1988, and Kershaw, arguably the greatest pitcher of this generation, has battled postseason struggles throughout his career. The narrative on both fronts could be very different today had the Astros not been stealing signs.
"Obviously when you go back and look at it for the individuals, particularly Clayton, who's had to live through this, because everybody's wanted to pile on his postseason performances — this obviously could have wiped out a lot of that if we had won that Series instead of losing it and having Game 5 turn out the way it did," Honeycutt said. "You definitely hate it for those individuals to go through that, as well as robbing the organization from getting the victories and getting a World Series championship.
"This is all very huge."
Honeycutt has been the only big-league pitching coach for Kershaw, who has amassed a 169-74 record with a career ERA of 2.44 and is a three-time Cy Young Award winner.
Houston's cheating combined the intricacies of the latest technologies with the primitive manner in which Astros players would bang trash cans to signal what pitch was coming to their teammate at the plate. Honeycutt was never aware of the banging during the 2017 World Series.
"Being in the other dugout, I didn't hear it," he said. "If they had been pounding drums, that would have alerted everybody, so the noise level they used was done well enough that it didn't make it super noticeable, but it was noticeable enough obviously to their players."