The Mets’ Carlos Beltrán was the latest casualty of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. The former outfielder was hired earlier this offseason after a Major League career that spanned from 1998 through 2017 and has not yet managed a single game for the club.
The aftermath of MLB’s nine-page investigation into the Astros was unprecedented. The league suspended Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for the entire 2020 season. Team owner Jim Crane decided to take their punishment one step further, as he fired both Hinch and Luhnow yesterday after MLB had announced their suspensions. Crane said that “Neither one of them started this but neither one of them did anything about it.”
MLB’s findings also implicated former bench coach Alex Cora, who has been the manager of the Boston Red Sox for the last two seasons. Boston followed suit and dismissed Cora yesterday as well.
Beltrán’s involvement in the Astros’ cheating was also heavily mentioned in MLB’s investigation. After the Mets hired Beltrán in November, it was reported that the club has asked him if he had had anything to do with the (at the time) alleged cheating that had taken place while Beltrán was a player for Houston during the 2017 season. Beltrán, in a text message to MLB Insider Joel Sherman, claimed that he was “not aware of that camera”, and that “we were studying the opposite team every day.”
It is now clear that Beltrán was lying, as evidenced by Major League Baseball’s official statements regarding the 2017 Astros.
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen was said to have thoroughly interviewed Beltrán before hiring him, and reportedly decided that Beltrán was far enough removed from the scandal that he could effectively avoid punishment and manage the Mets. Van Wagenen stated that “we can trust Carlos, and that goes a long way.”
By deciding to part ways with Beltrán, the Mets took the high road. They simply could not justify retaining a manager who had blatantly lied to the club during his interview process, and that was a key figure in one of the most significant cheating schemes in the history of baseball.
ESPN baseball analyst Eduardo Pérez was the runner-up for the Mets job in the fall, so New York may circle back to him as they once again are without a manager.