Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred concluded his investigation on the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.Yesterday, we finally found out what the Astros punishments would be. Houston’s general manager and manager Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch were suspended one year, the Astros were fined five million, the maximum an MLB team can be fined, and the Astros lost their first and second round draft picks for the next two years.
The commissioner also released a report about the investigation where he ripped apart the Astros culture, confirmed the Astros cheated during the 2017 postseason, and said “witnesses consistently describe this new scheme as player-driven.” Managers mentioned in the report are A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora, and Carlos Beltran.
Shortly after the discipline was announced, Astros owner Jim Crane held a press conference where he fired Luhnow and Hinch. Today, the Red Sox announced they have “mutually” parted ways with Alex Cora who is facing discipline from Manfred, but has to wait for his fate until the investigation on the 2018 Red Sox is completed. That leaves Beltran as the last manager standing, with a wrinkle.
Beltran was an active player for the Astros in 2017, unlike Hinch and Cora. Hinch was the manager and Cora was the bench coach. Rob Manfred made the decision not to discipline any players from that team, Beltran included. But because Beltran is no longer an active player, his name was mentioned in the report. The exact line is: “a group of players, including Carlos Beltran, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter.”
It’s damning for Beltran to be directly mentioned, but in my humble opinion, if no players from the 2017 Astros are going to be disciplined, none should be mentioned directly.
Due to his name being directly mentioned, it has created a lot of uncertainty around Beltran’s future with the Mets. This is now a Mets related issue that they need to address. The attention of this scandal has pivoted to them. To put it bluntly, the Mets currently employ a person in power that is directly mentioned in one of the biggest cheating scandals in MLB history. They shouldn’t sit back and hope everyone forgets about this over time. Either come out in support of your manager publicly, or shock us all and fire him.
The big question is how have Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon, and Brodie Van Wagenen reacted to Manfred’s report. Are they worried about the optics of this situation? Back on November 4th Van Wagenen stated his trust in Beltran goes a long way, does he still trust him?
I’d say we’re more likely to see Brandon Nimmo frown than the Mets letting Beltran go because of this. The fact is, he was a player and isn’t facing discipline from Major League Baseball. But, a month away from spring training, this is not what the Mets want to be discussing.