FORT MYERS, Fla. — As a catcher who spent parts of four seasons playing in the American League West between 2016 and 2019, Jonathan Lucroy found himself in a unique position to observe the sign-stealing tactics of the Houston Astros while needing to plan against the scheme.
Lucroy, who is now with the Boston Red Sox, played for the Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels in the AL West during that span. And, as a division rival, he saw up close the effectiveness of Houston’s actions.
“I knew about that two years ago, that it was going on,” Lucroy said Thursday. “I know it just recently came out. Everyone in baseball [knew], especially in that division that played against them. But we were all aware of the Astros doing those things and it was up to us to outsmart them, I guess you could say.
“It’s kind of hard when you have a computer program that breaks your signs. We actively changed signs. Every single pitch, we were changing signs. You had to because they would relay them to second, stealing them from first, too — from between your legs. They had a very intricate system going on. We were well aware of it, and it was a challenge. It was a mental challenge to…