After it was revealed on Monday that Carlos Beltran was a central figure in Major League Baseball’s findings in the 2017 sign-stealing scandal that resulted in the suspension of the Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, there was no reaction by Beltran’s current employer – the New York Mets.
The Astros immediately dismissed Hinch and Luhnow upon hearing the Commissioner’s office’s findings. Alex Cora, who was the Astros bench coach, and Beltran, who was predominantly a DH on that World Series-winning team, escaped discipline although the evidence against both of them was damning:
“Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltrán, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter. Cora arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the center field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros’ dugout.”
Cora is also under investigation for a similar scheme he brought to Boston when he took over as the Red Sox in 2018 and led them to a World Series championship. He will be addressing the media on Tuesday but is expected to be eventually disciplined. MLB might be waiting for the second investigation to conclude before exacting his punishment, which could be a lifetime ban according to some in the know.
Beltran has yet to manage a game for the Mets and there is a groundswell now wondering if the Mets should allow him to do so. In my experience in covering this team, they most likely will unless MLB decides to impose some type of discipline on him. Then, the Mets’ hand would be forced.
But expect nothing from Roosevelt Ave and 126th Street (now Seaver Way) until that happens, which it might not.
Shortly after being hired by the Mets, Beltran weighed in on the situation.
“We took a lot of pride studying pitchers in the computer — that is the only technology that I use and I understand,” Beltrán told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic in November. “It was fun seeing guys get to the ballpark to look for little details. (In) the game of baseball, guys for years have given location and if the catchers get lazy and the pitcher doesn’t cover the signs from second base, of course players are going to take advantage.”
Asked in November about the fact that Beltran played a “key role in devising” the Astros’ scheme, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen played things down.
“Anything that happened, happened for another organization with Houston, Major League Baseball,” Van Wagenen said. “I have no idea if anything did or did not (happen). But at this point, I don’t see any reason why this is a Mets situation.”
What a narrow view by Van Wagenen. Beltran is tainted goods here, and will be a pariah once Cora’s fate is determined. The Mets have to rethink this situation. The media will never let Beltran live it down and maybe the fans won’t either. It will be a major distraction all season long and the Mets don’t need any drama if they are to become contenders again.
Knowing this investigation could result in Beltran either being disciplined or tainted for life, the Met should have never hired him. Now, they’ll do everything in their power not to fire him.