Less than 10 weeks ago, a smiling Carlos Beltran stood on the field at Citi Field in New York, having just been named manager of the New York Mets.
Now, as a result of his being named as part of the Houston Astros video cheating scandal, he’s out:
Carlos Beltran is out as New York Mets manager due to his involvement in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, sources tell ESPN. He is the third manager to lose his job in the fallout.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 16, 2020
#Mets top officials met last night with Beltran. They were trying to find a way to salvage his term. They were unable to find an acceptable path for all. They met again this morning and came to the same conclusion and agreed to agree that Beltran should not manage the team.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 16, 2020
“Agreed to agree.” That’s a new one.
The Mets issued a statement:
Beltran, who played for the Astros in 2017 when the sign-stealing scheme was going on, was the only player named in Commissioner Rob Manfred’s report. Here is the portion of the report that names Beltran:
This is a nearly unprecedented situation, to have three managerial jobs open only four weeks from the beginning of spring training. Further, the only other time I can remember a manager being hired, then let go before he managed a game was Wally Backman, who had been hired by the Diamondbacks in November 2004 but was fired just four days later after some legal troubles were revealed that the D-backs had no knowledge of.
Of course, this raises the question: Who’s going to manage the Mets, Red Sox and Astros this year? For the Mets:
#Mets do not plan to name a manager today. They will move forward with consideration/search after today.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 16, 2020
#Mets coach Luis Rojas under consideration for managerial vacancy, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 16, 2020
This seems likely; with so little time, it would be worthwhile for the Mets to name someone already familiar with the team. It’s likely the same in Houston and Boston, and per this MLB.com report, the Astros are considering bench coach Joe Espada, who interviewed with the Cubs and Giants last fall. The report by Brian McTaggart also says:
The Astros are moving swiftly in their search for a manager to replace AJ Hinch, having already interviewed veteran skipper Buck Showalter on Wednesday and set to interview former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons on Thursday, according to reports.
MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported Thursday that Showalter interviewed with Astros owner Jim Crane on Wednesday. A source confirmed to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand that Gibbons was set to interview with Crane on Thursday.
McTaggart adds these men to the list:
In addition to Showalter and Gibbons, among the names on the Astros’ list of potential managers are bench coach Joe Espada, veteran skippers Bruce Bochy and Dusty Baker, former Rangers manager Jeff Banister, Cubs third-base coach Will Venable and Dodgers special assistant Raúl Ibañez.
Will Venable was interviewed by Theo & Co. for the Cubs managing spot, though it seemed clear he didn’t really have a chance. If the Astros (or Red Sox) want Venable as manager, the Cubs would likely not stand in his way. We do know it won’t be Bochy:
Bruce Bochy does not plan to pursue any of the current managerial openings, according to a source. His name surfaced on the #Astros’ list of managerial candidates reported yesterday by @MarkBermanFox26.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 16, 2020
There’s one more bit of fallout from all of this, and it involves ESPN baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza, who also works for the Mets as a special assistant to general manager Brodie Van Wagenen:
“To go public with it and call them out and start all of this, it’s hard to swallow.”— Golic and Wingo (@GolicAndWingo) January 16, 2020
-@jessmendoza on former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers revealing the Astros sign-stealing scheme. pic.twitter.com/LSQY6B0dSC
That’s really... not a good look for Mendoza. She “clarified” later in the day:
You can just see her walking back her earlier remarks, right? At this point, she should probably choose — either ESPN or the Mets, not both. You can see the conflict of interest, I’m sure. And then there’s this:
Can we rethink who’s in the booth for Sunday Night Baseball now? One cheated the game multiple times and the other is apparently ok with hiding the cheating. We need to stop rewarding people for being polarizing.— Trevor Plouffe (@trevorplouffe) January 16, 2020
Pretty strong words.
We should be getting ready to celebrate baseball’s return in just a few weeks. Instead, we have the biggest scandal in a century, and it seems to involve a great number of people.