MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made an example of the Houston Astros as a result of their sign-stealing events of 2017-18. New York Mets Manager Carlos Beltran was one of the ring leaders. The Amazins must show they support playing the game the right way and fire him.
A few weeks ago I wrote a series of articles about the state of leadership in New York sports, and one of the pieces was about recently hired New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran. At the time I thought his ties, even peripherally, to the Astros cheating scandal would be an issue. It was going to tarnish his reputation and be a distraction to the team. The reality of his role, however, is far worse.
The Mets HAVE to fire Beltran. There is simply no other way for the organization to proceed without him dragging the team down a dark rabbit hole. Astros manager A.J. Hinch drew a year-long suspension, and lost his job, for simply allowing it to happen. Hinch also was verifiably opposed to the tactics but didn’t want to sell out his team. With baseball’s archaic internal code you could understand, if not condone the position he was in.
Boston manager Alex Cora is also almost certainly going to lose his job as well. I can’t be 100% sure, but I assume the Red Sox have some semblance of, if not ethics, then public relations. Cora was not only one of the co-instigators, but he brought the practice along with him to Boston. His suspension will likely be significantly longer than one year, and Boston will likely move on.
This brings us to his accomplice in devising and implementing the scheme. Carlos Beltran is avoiding penalties because he was an Astros player at the time and the player’s union is more than Rob Manfred wants to deal with. A lengthy fight over player suspensions will keep discussions of tainted championships in the public eye longer than baseball wants.
Is it fair that the players involved are going to be unscathed? Probably not, although all are going to be labeled cheaters. I almost pity any of them that have an off year. Everyone will compare the sign-stealing to PED use for inflating stats. If George Springer hits .240 with 20 home runs in 2020, they may be right.
The complicated issue for the Mets is that Beltran is not just a cheater, but one of the leaders of the cheating. If you have a few minutes take a look at the actual report released by MLB and see the level of his culpability. He is the only player mentioned by name as part of the scam.
Will the New York Mets organization, from the top down, want to have to explain why they are sticking with a manager who has no experience and all this baggage when two guys who led teams to championships lost their jobs? Can you see Fred or Jeff Wilpon at the podium doing just that? How about GM Brodie van Wagenen? After his freshman season in the big chair, does he want to be the face of hiring a cheater?
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Do the players want to spend the next season answering questions every day about their manager? Better yet how do they feel about the entire situation themselves? Would current players even respect him?
It’s incredibly rare that players speak out about things like this but teams and players who lost to the Astros have already made statements about playing “the right way.” A tainted manager could impact the New York Mets pursuit of players in the future.
It seems like an awful lot of what-ifs and drama for a guy with no resume as a manager. Even for Beltran, it might be better to slink out of the spotlight for a few years and then try again after some time has passed. Beltran falling on his sword and resigning would probably buy him some equity in the future and save everyone a headache but I doubt he will do so. If he doesn’t then the new Mets ownership needs to step up and do the right thing for their fans and the sport.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below or on social media.