Former major league pitcher Mike Bolsinger filed suit Monday against the Houston Astros, alleging unfair business practices, negligence and intentional interference with contractual and economic relations, USA Today reported.
Bolsinger filed the civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in the wake of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. He is seeking unspecified damages and requesting the Astros forfeit the approximate $31 million in bonuses stemming from their 2017 World Series title, per the report.
Bolsinger, 32, would like the money to go charities in Los Angeles for children as well as creating a fund for retired baseball players who need financial assistance.
Bolsinger threw 29 pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays in that game and retired only one of eight batters. He allowed four runs, four hits (a homer, double and two singles) as well as three walks.
“I don’t know if I’ve had a worse outing in my professional career,” Bolsinger told 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.
“I felt like I didn’t have a chance.”
Bolsinger finished 4-2 with a 1.70 ERA in 16 games with the Bisons in 2017. He struck out 42 in 47.2 innings overall. His first appearance after he was sent down came 11 days after the debacle against the Astros. He allowed two hits with two strikeouts in 1.1 innings against Indianapolis on Aug. 11.
He pitched seven times for the Bisons after the demotion with an 0-1 record, allowing three earned runs in 11 innings.
The Blue Jays made no efforts to re-sign Bolsinger after the 2017 seasons and he spent the past two seasons pitching in Japan. He currently isn’t with a team, with major league camps about to open.
It is now known that the Astros had a system to steal signs and often did know what pitches were coming. They would bang on a garbage can to let the hitter know if an off-speed pitch was on the way.
The suit cites information from Astros fan Tony Adams, who documented every instance of a trash can banging sound by listening to audio of home games with the evidence showing there were more bangs (54) in that Aug. 4 game that any other that season.
“The Houston Astros team members and managers were bragging how good their offense was and how productive they were, and it was at the hands of cheating,” attorney Ben Meiselas of Geragos & Geragos says in the lawsuit. “And the consequence was Mike.”
Astros manager A.J. Hinch was fired due to the scandal, and it also led to the Boston Red Sox parting ways with manager Alex Cora (Houston’s bench coach at the time) and the New York Mets moving on from recently hired manager Carlos Beltran (a Houston player at the time). Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow also was dismissed.
But Bolsinger doesn’t see those punishments as severe enough, not with the tactics helping the Astros win a World Series title.
“I don’t think the punishment has fit the crime,” he 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.”
Bolsinger is 8-19 with a 4.92 ERA in 48 appearances (41 starts) over four big-league seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2014), Los Angeles Dodgers (2015-16) and Blue Jays (2017).
Field Level Media contributed to this report.