Carlos Beltran is out as manager of the New York Mets before he oversaw a single game, the latest domino to fall in Major League Baseball’s sign-stealing scandal.
Beltran, a former Houston Astros player whom the Mets hired in November, is the third manager to lose his job in connection to MLB’s investigation into two different teams for using technology to steal opponents signs, which is against baseball’s rules. Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon and General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said the decision was mutual.
“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,” they said. “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.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred earlier this week announced the results of his office’s investigation into the Astros’ sign-stealing efforts. The team used a camera that recorded signs being made by the opposing catcher, and had a system where someone sitting by a monitor would bang loudly on a garbage can to tip off the Astros batter in real time. MLB’s investigation found that the system was orchestrated by some low-level Astros employees and a group of players, including Beltran, who was an outfielder on the team.
Manfred suspended both Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Astros Manager A.J. Hinch for a year as a result of the team’s misdeeds. Astros owner Jim Crane later fired both.
MLB is also investigating the Boston Red Sox for a similar sign-stealing program. Red Sox Manager Alex Cora, bench coach on the Astros team that used the garbage-can trick, lost his job earlier this week as well. MLB is yet to announce the results of its Red Sox probe and is yet to issue any punishment of its own.
Both the Astros, in 2017, and the Red Sox, in 2018, won the World Series during the time they were accused of stealing signs. The losing team in both series was the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Cheating scandals are a major fear for professional sports leagues, which worry that fans may turn off the TV or stop attending games if they doubt the integrity of games. That’s especially true now, as legal sports betting spreads across the U.S. MLB, which reaped more than $10 billion in revenue last year, has embraced that expansion, signing partnerships with data providers and sports-betting operators.
Beltran, 42, made more than $248 million over the course of his 20-year MLB career. His managerial contract with the Mets was for three years, with an option for a fourth season.
Beltran thanked the Mets in a statement.
“I couldn’t let myself be a distraction for the team,” he said. “I wish the entire organization success in the future.”
The announcement comes after Mets adviser and ESPN analyst Jessica Mendoza drew criticism for placing blame on the former Astros players who originally blew the whistle on the team’s sign-stealing efforts.
“It made me sad for the sport that that’s how this all got found out,” Mendoza said on an ESPN morning show. “This wasn’t something that MLB naturally investigated or that even other teams complained about because they naturally heard about it and then investigations happened. 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.”
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