Mets manager Carlos Beltran steps down after being implicated in Astros sign-stealing scandal
Beltran is the third MLB manager to lose his job this week
Carlos Beltran is out as Mets manager before coaching a single game. Beltran resigned from his post, the team announced on Thursday, after questions swirled about his role in the Astros' 2017 sign-stealing scandal. Beltran, 42, was hired in November by the Mets, a franchise he spent seven seasons with during his two-decade MLB playing career.
"We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways," Mets owner Jeff Wilpon and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a joint statement. "Considering the circumstances, it became clear to all parties that it was not in anyone's best interest for Carlos to move forward as Manager of the New York Mets."
Beltran is the third MLB manager to lose his job this week because of the Astros scandal. Houston manager A.J. Hinch was fired Monday after he received a one-year suspension from MLB, and Red Sox skipper Alex Cora was let go Tuesday night. Cora, the Astros bench coach in 2017, was referenced as a ringleader of the Astros scheme in and the Red Sox are also being investigated for potential electronic sign-stealing under Cora in 2018. Beltran was also mentioned by name in the report.
"At a meeting this morning with Jeff [Wilpon] and Brodie [Van Wagenen] we mutually agreed to part ways," Beltran said in a statement. "I'm grateful to them for giving me the opportunity, but we agreed this decision is in the best interest of the team. I wish the entire organization success in the future."
In a separate statement via given to some media members, including MLB.com's Anthony DiComo, Beltran addressed the situation with more detail:
"Over my 20 years in the game, I've always taken pride in being a leader and doing things the right way, and in this situation, I failed. As a veteran player on the team, I should've recognized the severity of the issue and truly regret the actions that were taken. I am a man of faith and integrity and what took place did not demonstrate those characteristics that are so very important to me and my family. I am very sorry. It's not who I am as a father, a husband, a teammate and as an educator. The Mets organization and I mutually agreed to part ways, moving forward for the greater good with no further distractions. I hope that at some point in time, I'll have the opportunity to return to this game that I love so much."
Beltran was a veteran player under Hinch and Cora for the Astros in 2017, and he is the only player mentioned by name in MLB's report. The league decided it was not going to punish the players who were involved in the sign-stealing scandal, and it seems unlikely that Beltran will receive any kind of penalty from the league. Still, since Beltran was implicated in the report, the Mets decided to part ways with Beltran rather than enter spring training with questions looming about exactly how much he was involved in the Astros' scheme. The situation was made worse consideringof the Astros using a center-field camera to obtain signs earlier in the offseason.
Beltran spent the 2019 season as a special adviser to New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, before accepting the Mets manager job for the 2020 season. After ending his MLB career with the Astros 2017 World Series title, Beltran also interviewed for the Yankees managerial job before it was eventually given to Aaron Boone.
Beltran played for the Mets from 2005-2011. The nine-time All-Star also played for the Yankees, Royals, Cardinals and Giants. The switch-hitting outfielder retired with a .279 batting average with 435 home runs, 565 doubles, 312 stolen bases, 1,587 RBI and 1,582 runs scored over his 20-year career.
Here are four more things to know about Beltran's ousting:
What exactly was Beltran's role in scandal?
Beltran spent the final season of his 20-year long MLB career with the 2017 Astros where he won his first World Series championship. In MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's nine-page report summary on the Astros' 2017 sign-stealing, Beltran was cited as playing a role in developing and executing the trash can-banging scheme. The New York Times reported that Beltran was a "central figure at the outset of the operation." Here's what Manfred's report says about Beltran:
"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."
Mets didn't discuss sign-stealing in interview
When longtime baseball agent Brodie Van Wagenen got the Mets general manager job during the 2018 offseason, he didn't waste any time making a big impression. Van Wagenen made major moves, but decided to stick by manager Mickey Callaway for the 2019 season. Callaway was not Van Wagenen's hire; he was hired ahead of the 2018 season by former general manager Sandy Alderson.
Most decisions Van Wagenen made in his first year backfired by the end of last year. His first blockbuster trade as Mets GM (Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade) didn't work out, Jeurys Familia had a disastrous season out of the bullpen and Jed Lowrie did not play.
Now, Van Wagenen's first manager hire is gone without so much as overseeing a spring training workout. The Mets made the hire nearly two weeks before The Athletic's report about the Astros was released. In a Thursday conference call after Beltran's ousting, Van Wagenen told reporters, including The Athletic's Marc Carig, that he had not heard of any suspicion regarding the Astros' electronic sign-stealing. He added that sign-stealing did not come up during the interview process with Beltran.
After the Astros allegations came out, Van Wagenen said the team told Beltran to comply with MLB's investigation and did not press him on more details.
Cora's 2019 press conference raised some eyebrows
Amidst the sign-stealing scandal that's taken over the MLB news cycle, a months-old video of now-former Red Sox manager Alex Cora talking to the media after his team got swept by the New York Yankees in London last summer emerged online. In the video, Cora makes a remark about Carlos Beltran being the New York's "biggest free-agent acquisition" as well as an unprompted mention of "devices." Here's Cora's full comments from the awkward press conference:
"I was joking with someone that [the Yankees'] biggest free agent acquisition was Carlos Beltran," Cora said, before winking. "I know how it works, you know? He's helping a lot. They're paying attention to details and we have to clean our details."
"It was eye-opening the last few days, from top to bottom," Cora said. "And I'm not saying devices and all that stuff, it's just stuff that the game will dictate and will scream at people and is right there. Throughout the evening, I was looking and I saw it, you know? And right now they're a lot better than us, so we need to get better."
At the time, Beltran was working for the Yankees as a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman.
New York has to find new manager
With less than a month to go until spring training begins, three MLB clubs are searching for new managers. The Mets could be looking to hire internally as quality control coach Luis Rojas is reportedly under consideration to become Beltran's replacement. The Mets also have another in-house option in bench coach Hensley Muelens, who has interviewed for multiple managerial jobs in recent years. The Mets will now be on the hunt for their fourth skipper since winning the 2015 pennant. .
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