It’s the middle of the baseball offseason, and all eyes are on the New York Mets. In typical Mets fashion, this isn’t a good thing. The Mets aren’t being lauded for anything positive, like a major free-agent upgrade. Instead, the team is stuck trying to figure out whether it needs to fire its new manager.
Carlos Beltran is the only person named as part of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal to remain employed by a major-league baseball team. With Alex Cora, A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow all out, the baseball world is wondering whether Beltran could be next.
Beltran initially denied being involved in the scandal, telling Joel Sherman of the New York Post the team did not steal signs illegally.
Major League Baseball didn’t agree. Beltran was one of the main players involved in the scandal, according to MLB’s investigation. When Beltran joined the Astros during the 2017 season, he suggested the team “could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter,” according to MLB’s report.
After reviewing the evidence, the league suspended both Hinch and Luhnow for a year. The two were later fired by the Astros. On top of that, the Astros lost draft picks and were fined $5 million. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he would not punish any Astros players. While that meant Beltran would not be punished, it was curious that Beltran was the only player named in the report. The Mets and Beltran have not commented on the situation since MLB’s punishment came down.
While Cora wasn’t punished as part of that investigation, it’s expected MLB will issue some type of suspension for Cora, who is also involved in an investigation looking into allegations the Boston Red Sox used technology to steal signs in 2018. To get ahead of that, the Red Sox fired Cora on Tuesday.
That leaves Beltran, who still hasn’t managed a game with the Mets. The 42-year-old Beltran was hired by the team Nov. 1. The initial report detailing the Astros’ sign-stealing methods broke Nov. 12. While Beltran’s name wasn’t in that report, he eventually was revealed to be involved in the sign-stealing process. MLB’s report Monday put more pressure on the Mets to address the situation.
Given how the Astros and Red Sox handled Cora and Hinch, Beltran could easily be the next to go. Both of those managers had longer, more successful track records in the majors — even if they achieved it by cheating. The Mets have no reason to stand by Beltran.
The Mets finally realize that. The team is reportedly “wavering” on Beltran, according to Buster Olney of ESPN. That’s probably not a good thing for Beltran’s job security.
While it would be extremely Mets for the team to fire its new manager before he was able to manage a game, the franchise’s hand has been forced. With the Astros and Red Sox quickly distancing themselves from those named in the report, the Mets have to follow suit.
If not, any success Beltran achieves with the franchise will be met with questions about his involvement in the Astros’ scandal. The Mets can save themselves more negative publicity down the road by making the right — albeit more embarrassing — decision now.
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