It’s never quiet for too long when it comes to the Mets. The Mets “mutually agreed” to part ways with Carlos Beltrán before the team even opened camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
This comes following MLB’s investigation into the Astros cheating scandal, which involved the use of stealing signs via a centerfield camera during 2017 regular and postseason. The investigation stemmed from an article from The Athletic by Evan Drellich and was further shown to the public through Jomboy Media’s breakdowns through social media. The investigation began following Beltrán’s hire.
The league informed the Mets that no players would be serving suspensions, and essentially given immunity. When the commissioner’s office report was made public, Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were subject to a one-year suspension, the Astros were to forfeit their first and second-round picks in the next two drafts, and fined a league maximum 5 million dollars.
With the reported findings and sanctions, Jim Crane, Owner of the Astors, relieved both Hinch and Luhnow of their duties as manager and general manager. The Red Sox that are subject to their own video surveillance investigation relieved Alex Cora of his duties, due to the extensive nature of his involvement in the report as well as his role in the 2018 Red Sox allegations. This put all eyes on the Mets, but why? Since players were immune to punishment, and Beltrán was one of the 25 players and not one in a management position.
What brought more media pressure on the Mets was the way that Rob Manfred wrote the report. One line states, “Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltrán, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter.”
This baffles me that Beltrán, a player, not a coach, was explicitly mentioned when no other player was. Let’s look at Manfred’s explanation as to why players wouldn’t be subject to punishment “I will not assess discipline against individual Astros players.
If this is indeed the approach Rob Manfred was going to take, then why name a specific player in the report? It makes no logical sense other than that Manfred saw Beltrán in a management position and knowing his involvement as a player wanted to put pressure on the Mets to relieve him of his duties. This is unfair to Beltrán, as being the only player being named in the report, subjecting him to media speculation. It’s unfair to the Mets, a team that hasn’t benefited or took part in the scandals in any way.
Was it possible to keep Carlos Beltrán?
I do believe the Mets still could have salvaged the Beltrán hire. If they allowed Beltrán to release an explanatory statement as he did when he stepped down and created an account of their own that backed him up, this could have settled a storm. Yes, there would have been questions in spring training regarding the report, but I do believe we would then turn to look into how he was as an in-game manager and not what he was doing as a player in 2017.
I’m sure there is more to the story that has been made public. but, again, from what has been made public, Beltrán wasn’t subjected to punishment, and the Mets could have defended him and supported their hire, highlighting the aspects that awarded him the managerial position in the first place.
Where do the Mets go from here?
Luckily, the Mets have internal candidates such as Luis Rojas and Tony Defrancesco that have been viewed highly in the Mets front office. If it were up to me, I believe Rojas, the Mets quality control coach, is a quality candidate as he has coached in the Mets minor leagues, is well in-depth in analytics, and is an effective communicator.
Externally, the Mets have recent candidates that have had multiple rounds of interviews, such as Tim Bogar and Eduardo Perez, that could step in. Lastly, and most unlikely, the Mets could turn to veteran options such as Buck Showalter and Dusty Baker to take control of a unique situation.
In the end, I hope it comes to be Luis Rojas or Eduardo Perez, two candidates that are effective communicators that could take a leadership role quickly and can control the situation.
As spring starts, the hope is that the focus will be on helping the best national league team that didn’t make the playoffs to make the playoffs and not a scandal the Mets had no involvement in.
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