The electronic sign-stealing scandal has taken baseball by storm over the past few days, and it is leaving a path of wreckage in its wake. The Houston Astros, the biggest perpetrators of the cheating, were fined five million dollars, lost several draft picks, and saw manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow get suspended for a year. The pair were fired by Astros’ owner Jim Crane, and that was followed by the Boston Red Sox agreeing to part ways with manager Alex Cora, who won the World Series for them in 2018 after being a key factor in the Astros’ scheme the year before as their bench coach.
The one man left standing is Carlos Beltran, who was a player with the Astros at the time and is now managing the New York Mets. Beltran will not face discipline according to commissioner Rob Manfred, who did signal Beltran out as a ringleader in the scheme, as players were given immunity in exchange for their cooperation. The Mets have remained quiet about Beltran’s status for days as the report’s ripple effects have created waves in the sport, leading to speculation they may be considering whether to move on from their new manager before he even starts his first spring training.
There are two main issues to consider with this situation. The first is if Beltran was honest with the Mets about his role in the Astros’ situation if he was asked about it in the interview process. General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen emphasized Beltran’s trustworthiness in his introductory press conference, and if he lied to the Mets about his involvement that would be a bad omen for his future with the organization.
The other thing the Mets need to weigh is how much of a distraction this situation will cause around their team. Beltran will undoubtedly get asked throughout the year about cheating and the ramifications of the scandal, and the Mets probably don’t want the media focusing on that instead of what is going on right now with the team. The Mets haven’t weighed in yet, but Beltran’s next scheduled public appearance is on January 25, when he is supposed to appear at the team’s first ever FanFest at Citi Field.
As long as Beltran didn’t lie to the organization about what he knew, the Mets shouldn’t second guess their hire and let him manage their team. Beltran was just a player at that time, so he had no true authority to implement a cheating system, even though he did benefit from it. The smart thing to do would be to hold a press conference as soon as possible to let Beltran get a statement on the record to try and keep the distraction from building up. The longer this issue hovers over the Mets, the more likely it is they are considering a change.