Bending To The Will of Distraction

MLB: Winter Meetings

The Mets finally made it official. Carlos Beltran got to manage the Mets for a winter … and no more:

Frankly, once Alex Cora was fired by the Red Sox without even waiting for the suspension announcement for electronic sign stealing I thought “uh-oh”. Because firing Cora without a suspension in place established that being attached to the controversy was now enough. Now, Beltran was the last of the Manfred report players that was standing. And the fact that he wasn’t going to be suspended by Major League baseball was no longer a force field around his job security. Once it became about image, perception, and distraction, Beltran was done. Because his bosses care about perception to a fault. And if they feel that the perception and the optics are bad, they’re going to do something about it because they just don’t want to deal with it. Beltran probably didn’t want to deal with it either. He would have had enough agita managing the Mets and working for Jeffy and Brodie without this hanging over his head.

I don’t know what’s right, and I’m not about to tell you what to think. But for me, I think it’s funny that three managers have taken the fall for the sign stealing controversy, and rightly so at least in the cases of A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora. And yet two managers took the fall for teams that directly benefited from the electronic sign stealing. The third team had nothing to do with it, won absolutely nothing, and yet they not only lose their manager, but they might lose their bench coach as Hensley Meulens is a candidate to replace Cora in Boston. So this is much bigger than “LOL Mets” here.

But while I can’t blame the Mets for this, I can’t help but think that if they had just taken the layup and hired Joe Girardi, they wouldn’t be in this predicament. But they got cute and went for the prodigal son. It goes back to what did the Mets know about the sign stealing, could they have known, and was Beltran forthcoming to the Mets about his place in the controversy. What could the Mets have asked? Did they get the right answers? Did they ask the right questions? Could they have even thought to ask these questions back in November?

Was Beltran taking the fall right and just? Since he wasn’t subject to punishment by Major League Baseball, maybe not. But this is the path to least resistance. With the Red Sox acting more swiftly than MLB, the Mets really had no choice but to allow this to happen. And now, through little fault of their own and without the memories of a tainted title to fall back on, they’re back to square one. The Mets could even turn this into a positive if they make the right hire. But it’ll still be an accident if it does. So get your meds by your side for Managerial Search Part 2. And whatever happens, don’t be surprised. Be ready.


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