New York Mets third baseman/left fielder came clean to the fans and media on Friday about his role in the Houston sign-stealing scandal when he was part of the Astros.
Friday J.D. Davis went before the media to explain his time as a member of the 2017 Houston Astros. I watched how he handled himself explaining his role in the sign-stealing scandal. He kept his poise and was direct and honest. I applaud Davis and see that he is a valuable player for the New York Mets on and off the field.
What exactly were we looking for in Davis’ explanation? That he was a ring leader? That he was the one that implemented the sign-stealing. Or maybe how he was glad the Mets hired Carlos Beltran, so they can carry that over to Queens?
I initially defended Carlos Beltran even after he was dismissed by the Mets. Ok, they agreed to mutually part ways. At the time, I thought it was unfair that he was the only player mentioned in Commissioner Rob Manfred’s report on the scandal. But if you are responsible for this, like Beltran was, you pay the piper. There is no hiding from the fallout.
However, Beltran is not the only one. A press conference was held by Houston in West Palm Breach. Yes, I wrote Breach, the statements given by Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve were an absolute joke! To suggest it was a collective action is nuts.
Then there was Astros owner, Jim Crane. Was he really patting himself on the back by suggesting he went above and beyond the call and fired A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow? Why didn’t he suspend himself from team operations? Houston’s core players should be embarrassed to the point that they donate their shares of the 2017 World Series winner’s pool to charity.
Please spare me the “we are human and we make mistakes” justifications. Altuve’s 2017 American League Most Valuable Player Award is now in question. Fans can forgive when actions of repentance are made. And we have yet to see any, but we sure hear the word remorse quite often. I find it that “remorse” is a candy-coated word to describe we lied and we cheated,
But let’s go back to J.D. Davis. He was a rookie who was called up late in 2017. A player that was just trying to stay in the Major Leagues. You can’t compare his involvement in this scandal with a Beltran, Cora, Altuve, Bregman, and others. Davis was barely there.
Yet, he showed regret and sorrow to be a part of the scam. But judging by his numbers that year in the Majors he did not gain much, batting .239 in 26 games. I’ll even go one step further. Considering how good Davis was in AAA when he hit .342 in 2018, only to hit a measly .175 with Houston when he was called up, I would argue this sign-stealing scheme affected him mentally and his production suffered.
After all, as Altuve sheepishly said, he is human too.
I think the best thing for Davis’ career was his trade to the New York Mets and to finally put what happened in Houston behind him. Or so he thought. Davis was approached by MLB about the sign-stealing scandal and he was open and honest.
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As you can see, Davis performed better than most expected in his new CitiField digs. In 2019, he hit .307 with 22 home runs in 410 at-bats.
The third baseman/left fielder has shown the Mets fans what a steal he was when GM Brodie van Wagenen got him for a song last winter. Davis wasn’t going to crack that tough Astros lineup with Bregman at third.
So before the gallery is quick to pass judgment that Davis lied and should be punished, ask yourself this question, “What would you do if you are a rookie trying to survive in the bigs and you had no choice but to be a part of that Astros tainted culture?”
I applaud Davis for coming forward. It’s easier now that he’s away from the Astros. But I see a relaxed Davis that just wants to play baseball for the New York Mets. Cut J. D. a break and pull for this young man. I see a very special player. Much like Madison Square Garden 40 years ago, he is going to be hearing a lot of JD JD JD chants in Queens.