Carlos Beltran is already facing controversy two weeks into his stint as manager of the New York Mets — even though it has nothing to do with his current organization.
A follow-up report by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich revealed that Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing system will include interviews with Astros skipper AJ Hinch, Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora — who was the bench coach of the Astros in 2017 — and Beltran.
It is believed Beltran and Cora played “a key role” in the system that saw the Astros steal signs electronically, which included placing a camera in center field that would relay information to the Houston dugout.
A clubhouse attendant would see the signs on a television monitor set up just steps from the Astros dugout and would bang on a trash can to help alert the batter of upcoming pitches, per Rosenthal and Drellich.
The new Mets manager was a veteran presence on the 2017 World Series-winning Astros, where he was credited as a mentor to a crop of young hitters that included George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve.
Those glowing reviews from those players were a big reason why Beltran was considered a hot, new managerial candidate that ultimately wound up with the Mets.
Beltran built a reputation during his playing days as an offensive mastermind that was able to pick up on the opposing pitcher’s tendencies and any possible tips that were revealed.
It turns out, though, it might have been more than that.
The 42-year-old texted a statement to Rosenthal and Drellich in an attempt to clear things up:
“We took a lot of pride studying pitchers in the computer — that is the only technology that I use and I understand. It was fun seeing guys get to the ballpark to look for little details. [In] the game of baseball, guys for years have given location and if the catchers get lazy and the pitcher doesn’t cover the signs from second base, of course, players are going to take advantage. I don’t call that cheating. I call that using the small details to take advantage. I think baseball is doing a great job adding new technology to make sure the game is even for both teams.”
Stealing signs is not illegal in Major League Baseball, but using electronics to aid such acts is.