Mon, 24 Feb 2020

Beltran out as Mets' manager in wake of scandal

Field Level Media
17 Jan 2020, 05:40 GMT+10

The New York Mets and Carlos Beltran mutually parted ways on Thursday, three days after the club's new manager was implicated in the Houston Astros' sign-stealing incident from 2017.

The Mets released separate statements from the club and Beltran indicating the parting was agreed to Thursday morning.

The team statement was from chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and executive vice president Brodie Van Wagenen.

"We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways," the statement began. "This was not an easy decision. Considering the circumstances, it became clear to all parties that it was not in anyone's best interests for Carlos to move forward as manager of the New York Mets.

"We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. We are confident that this will not be the final chapter in his baseball career. We remain excited about the talent on this team and are committed to reaching our goals of winning now and in the future."

Beltran was a player during the 2017 incident. Now retired, he was hired by the Mets in November.

"I'm grateful to them for giving me the opportunity, but we agreed this decision is in the best interest of the team," Beltran said in his statement. "I couldn't let myself be a distraction for the team. I wish the entire organization success in the future."

Beltran is the third manager to lose his job due to the scandal. Houston fired A.J. Hinch and the Boston Red Sox and Alex Cora agreed to part ways. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow also was dismissed.

Cora was identified by MLB on Monday as a ringleader in the Astros' scheme to steal signs en route to their 2017 World Series championship, when he was Houston's bench coach. He became the Red Sox's manager the next year and led his new team to the title -- albeit with lingering suspicions regarding similar illegal sign-stealing.

Beltran was the lone player named in the report. The scheme involved using video cameras and trash cans to tip hitters off to pitches.

"Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltran, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams' signs and communicating the signs to the batter," the MLB report said.

Beltran, 42, was a nine-time All-Star who batted .279 with 435 homers and 1,587 RBIs with seven teams.

He later released an additional statement to ESPN.

"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," Beltran said. "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'm very sorry. It's not who I am as a father, a husband, a teammate and as an educator.

"I hope at some point in time, I'll have the opportunity to return to this game that I love so much."

Houston's sign-stealing tendencies officially came into the spotlight when former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers made comments to reporters this offseason, referencing that it was occurring when he was on the club's 2017 World Series championship team. Fiers now pitches for the Oakland Athletics.

Mets advisor Jessica Mendoza, who also is a broadcaster for ESPN, sharply criticized Fiers on Thursday, possibly violating MLB's call that no club employees comment on the situation.

"If you're with the Oakland A's and you're on another team, I mean heck yeah, you better be telling your teammates, "Look, hey, heads up. If you hear some noises when you're pitching, this is what's going on,'" Mendoza said on ESPN Radio. "For sure. But to go public, yeah. It didn't sit well with me. And honestly, it made me sad for the sport that that's how this all got found out.

"This wasn't something that MLB naturally investigated or that even other teams complained about because they naturally heard about, and then investigations happen. But it came from within. It was a player that was a part of it, that benefited from it during the regular season when he was a part of that team. When I first heard about it, it hits you like any teammate would. It's something that you don't do. I totally get telling your future teammates, helping them win, letting people know. But to go public with it and call them out and start all of this, it's hard to swallow."

Mendoza later posted a statement on Twitter to clarify her criticism of Fiers.

"The point I should have been much more clear on was this: I believe it's very critical that this news was made public; I simply disagree with the manner in which that was done," Mendoza said. "I credit Mike Fiers for stepping forward, yet I feel that going directly through your team and/or MLB first could have been a better way to surface the information."

Mendoza said her role with the Mets doesn't affect her opinion on the subject.

--Field Level Media

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