New York Yankees star Giancarlo Stanton said he would have hit more than 80 home runs in 2017 if he knew signs like the Houston Astros.
The MLB has been engulfed by a sign-stealing scandal involving the Astros, who were found to have stolen sings of opposition teams en route to winning the 2017 World Series, as well as for part of the 2018 season.
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were subsequently fired by Houston in January after they were initially suspended for the entire 2020 campaign by the league, while the Boston Red Sox dismissed manager Alex Cora.
The Astros edged the Yankees 4-3 in the American League Championship Series three years ago and New York's Aaron Judge has already labelled the punishment "weak".
Yankees team-mate Stanton, who tallied 59 homers for the Miami Marlins in 2017 before moving to New York the following year, weighed in on Wednesday.
Springtime Feelings pic.twitter.com/KB0WzKtwpb— New York Yankees (@Yankees) February 19, 2020
"If knew what was coming in '17, I probably would have hit 80-plus home runs," Stanton – the 2017 National League MVP – told reporters midweek.
Stanton, who is a four-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, added: "They did their investigation and it was clear-cut that they cheated that year, which means it should be taken away.
"If you cheat in another way during the season, you can't even be in the playoffs. It's pretty much the same difference."
Astros players were not disciplined by MLB following the investigation and Stanton said: "I don't think the penalties were harsh enough player-wise. At the end of the day it gives more incentive to do that if you're not going to punish the players."
"We know that they really don't care to give an apology or explain their side, and it showed by their response," Stanton continued. "You know the repercussions of doing something like that. You're really only sorry because you got caught. You have all this whirlwind of which you've got to deal with, not the actual action."