Carlos Beltrán is out as manager of the New York Mets after being implicated in a sign-stealing scandal that has rocked Major League Baseball. Commissioner Robert Manfred recently announced findings that the Houston Astros illegally created a system that decoded and communicated the opposing teams’ pitching signs during their 2017 championship season. Beltrán played for the club in 2017.
The Mets signed Beltrán on Nov. 1 to his first job as a major league manager. The contract was for a three-year deal with an option for a fourth season. Beltrán was the only player named in MLB’s investigation of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. His departure leaves the Mets without a manager just over a month before spring training begins.
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen released a statement saying, “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.” The commissioner’s office did not pressure the Mets to fire Beltrán, Wilpon said, but it was the club’s decision.
According to the commissioner, the Astros used several methods to steal pitching signs during the team’s World Series-winning season and 2018 season. They would decode them using a feed from the center field camera, then players in the dugout would bang on a trash can to signal to the batter. Manfred’s statement provides little detail about Beltrán’s involvement, but does say that he was one of the players who brainstormed methods to improve how they were decoding the signs.
No player received any discipline from MLB for the sign-stealing scheme. Manfred said disciplining individual players was “difficult and impractical” because virtually the whole team was involved or had knowledge of the scheme. As part of the punishment, the league suspended manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one year, said the Astros also must forfeit their regular first- and second-round selections in 2020 and 2021 drafts, and the team must pay a $5 million fine. Luhnow and Hinch were fired by the team shortly after the announcement.