Posted on January 16, 2020, by Bryan Zarpentine
The fallout from the Houston Astros cheating scandal continues. Earlier this week, the Astros fired both manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow after both were suspended for the 2020 season by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. That was soon followed by the Red Sox parting ways with manager Alex Cora. On Thursday, the New York Mets followed suit, mutually agreeing to part ways with manager Carlos Beltran a few short months after he was hired and before he managed his first game.
While Hinch and Luhnow were both punished by MLB and Cora likely awaits a similar punishment, Manfred did not punish Beltran or any other players who were on the Astros when they used video cameras to steal signs during the 2017 postseason. However, Beltran was implicated in Manfred’s report on the matter and was viewed as one of the ringleaders of the operation along with Cora. Based on that, the Mets considered cutting ties with Beltran, with both sides deciding it was best that Beltran not continue to serve as manager of the Mets.
“We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways,” Mets principal owner Jeff Wilpon and GM Brodie Van Wagenen said in a joint statement. “This was not an easy decision. 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. 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.”
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With Hinch being fired and Cora stepping down earlier in the week, there was a fair amount of pressure on the Mets to do the same with Beltran. Since he was a player at the time and not serving in an official leadership position, Beltran’s situation was different from Hinch and Cora. For that reason, the Mets were reportedly conflicted on whether or not to take action. In the end, it seems that Beltran was understanding of the team’s concerns and recognized stepping down was the right decision.
“At a meeting this morning with Jeff and Brodie we mutually agreed to part ways,” Beltran said in a statement. “I’m grateful to them for giving me the opportunity, but we agreed this decision is in the best interest of the team. I couldn’t let myself be a distraction for the team. I wish the entire organization success in the future.”
Unlike Hinch, Luhnow, and presumably Cora, there will be no suspension preventing Beltran from getting another job with a big-league organization. However, whether another team gives him a chance after his role in a scandal that has rocked the baseball world to its core remains to be seen. After all, Beltran was supposed to be a veteran leader on Houston’s 2017 team and his actions undoubtedly clash with the great reputation he had during his playing career.
Meanwhile, the Mets now join the Astros and Red Sox as teams that need to hire a manager with the start of spring training less than a month away. Former player and current broadcaster Eduardo Pérez was considered the runner-up to Beltran in New York’s managerial search earlier this winter. The Mets also interviewed and considered several other candidates. However, whether they go back to those candidates for a last-second hire remains to be seen, especially since the rest of the coaching staff has been filled out believing Beltran would be the manager. In any event, a scandal that didn’t appear to involve the Mets in any way has now had a profound impact on the team’s preparations for the 2020 season and the future of the organization.