New York Mets: Carlos Beltran resigns as manager in Astrogate fallout

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Carlos Beltran talks to the media after being introduced the manager of the New York Mets during a press conference at Citi Field on November 4, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Carlos Beltran talks to the media after being introduced the manager of the New York Mets during a press conference at Citi Field on November 4, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran has “stepped away,” possibly before he, too, could be fired after MLB names him as a main participant in the sign-stealing scandal.

Barely had the Twitterverse settled into debating ESPN reporter/Mets advisor Jessica Mendoza ripping Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers for blowing the whistle on Astrogate Wednesday morning. Then at least three respected mainstream baseball writers—Tim Brown (Yahoo! Sports), Jeff Passan (ESPN), and Bob Nightengale (USA Today)—plus MLB Trade Rumors‘s Steve Adams—reported Astrogate figure Carlos Beltran would be out as the new manager of the New York Mets.

The one-time Mets outfielder issued a statement not long after the news broke. “As a veteran player on (the 2017 Astros),” Beltran said, “I should’ve recognized the severity of the issue and truly regret the actions that were taken.”

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"I am a man of faith and integrity and what took place did not demonstrate those characteristics that are so very important to me and my family. I’m very sorry. It’s not who I am as a father, a husband, a teammate, and as an educator. The Mets organisation and I mutually agreed to part ways, moving forward for the greater good with no further distractions. I hope that at some point in time, I’ll have the opportunity to return to this game that I love so much."

Either Beltran resigned on his own or quit before the Mets could fire him. Much the way Astros bench coach-turned-Red Sox manager Alex Cora either resigned on his own or quit before the Red Sox could fire him.

Beltran’s status with the Mets has been a speculation subject from almost the moment the Astros executed general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch Monday afternoon. That speculation went from supersonic to warp speed, seemingly, after Cora’s exit over both his Astrogate role and the continuing commissioner’s investigation into the Red Sox using their replay room for off-field, illegal sign-stealing under his watch, if not his instigation.

Brown had it up first: “Carlos Beltran has told the Mets it is best if he steps down. Looks like the direction this will take.” Then followed Passan: “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.” Along came Nightengale: “Carlos Beltran fought for [sic] his job, but now out as New York #Mets manager in wake of #Astros cheating scandal.” And Adams reiterated it.

Beltran isn’t just the third manager to hit the unemployment line in the Astrogate scandal. He’s also the first newly-hired manager not to have a chance to manage even a single major league game since Wally Backman, the one-time Mets infielder whose tenure with the Diamondbacks lasted four days in 2004 before his legal issues including previous domestic violence charges were either exposed or re-exposed.

Stepping down as the Mets’ manager also may relieve the Mets of a prospective financial knot. Since Beltran resigned, he forfeits his salary; if the Mets chose to fire him, instead, they’d be paying two managers not to manage in 2020, having fired Mickey Callaway after the end of the regular 2019 season.

Beltran, a designated hitter finishing his playing career with the 2017 World Series-winning Astros, was the only player named specifically in the Astrogate report from commissioner Rob Manfred Monday: “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.”

Though Manfred gave all players talking to investigators immunity from discipline, Beltran was named specifically because he’s thought to have been a co-instigator with then Astros bench coach/now-deposed Red Sox manager Cora of the Astro Intelligence Agency—the installing or modifying of a camera behind center field to send signs to a clubhouse monitor where one or another player could decode them and signal Astro hitters by banging on a heavy trash can.

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The New York Mets named Beltran their next manager eight days before Fiers’s whistleblowing on Astrogate to The Athletic reporters Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich was published. The timing of Beltran’s resignation couldn’t be worse, from the Mets’ public relations position, on the same day they planned to rename officially a road to their Port St. Lucie spring training complex for Hall of Famer Mike Piazza.