New York — While the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox took decisive action in jettisoning their managers after Major League Baseball concluded they were involved in nefarious sign stealing, the New York Mets have stayed silent on Carlos Beltrán’s future.
Houston fired AJ Hinch one hour after baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred released his findings Monday. Boston’s management took 30 hours to announce Alex Cora’s departure on Tuesday.
Beltrán remains in limbo, with the Mets refusing to say whether their new manager stays or goes.
In Manfred’s nine-page statement, Beltrán was the only player identified as a participant in the cheating scheme.
“They have to fire Carlos Beltrán,” a former New York Yankees teammate, Mark Teixeira, said Wednesday on ESPN, where he works as an analyst.
“There’s no way that Carlos Beltrán, especially in the pressure cooker of New York, there’s no way he can be the manager of the Mets. … You cannot have that guy lead your team.
“The New York papers, the Daily News and the Post and all of the tabloids, will eat up Carlos Beltrán every single day until he’s fired.”
Cora was Houston’s bench coach in 2017 and the instigator of the Astros’ use of a camera in center field and monitor near the dugout to steal catchers’ signals.
“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,” Manfred wrote.
Hinch and Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow received one-season suspensions before owner Jim Crane fired them. Manfred decided not to discipline players – 2017 was Beltrán’s final season.
Mets management must ponder whether Beltrán can be an effective leader given his behavior. Would young players view him as a cheater pushing them to break the rules? Would Beltrán turn timid, afraid of attracting scrutiny from MLB investigators?
What would be the benefit of sticking with Beltrán, who has no previous managerial experience?
Red Sox owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, CEO Sam Kennedy and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom concluded Cora could not remain in Boston under similar circumstances.
“Alex by his own admission, and we agreed, played a central role in what went on in Houston,” Werner said.
“We all agreed that it was wrong and that we had a responsibility as stewards, as John had said, to have a standard here where that sort of behavior is not acceptable.”
Kennedy said it wasn’t a close call.
“While it was difficult personally for a lot of people, professionally it was ultimately an easy decision for the Red Sox and for Alex. It was a mutual decision,” Kennedy said.
“Alex came to the conclusion that he could not effectively lead the organization going forward in light of the commissioner’s findings and the ruling. And we came to that conclusion as well.”
With the start of spring training less than a month away, there is not much time to decide on a successor.
Options could include new bench coach Hensley Meulens and ESPN analyst Eduardo Pérez, who interviewed for the Mets manager job with GM Brodie Van Wagenen last fall.
Yanks address injuries
Eric Cressey thinks some injuries can be prevented.
After a season in which medical updates overshadowed scouting reports, the New York Yankees hope so.
Cressey was hired by the Yankees in the new role of director of player health and performance, a move made after New York had 30 players make a combined 39 trips to the injured list last year.
New York set a big league record for sidelined players, topping the 28 on the 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers.
“You always want to separate bad processes from bad outcomes,” Cressey said. “Players are going to be hit by pitches, but there are definitely things that we can do on the processes side of things to provide a level of individualization in the way that we solicit their feedback on what’s worked for them.”
Around the horn
Left-hander Stephen Tarpley was traded from the Yankees to the Marlins on Wednesday for third baseman James Nelson and cash.
Tarpley was designated for assignment by the Yankees on Saturday to clear a roster spot when outfielder Brett Gardner’s contract was finalized. The 26-year-old Tarpley was 1-0 with two saves and a 5.88 ERA last year. He was acquired by the Yankees in the 2016 trade that sent right-hander Iván Nova to Pittsburgh. Nova signed with the Tigers on Monday.
... The Rangers have formally reunited with catcher Robinson Chirinos and added third baseman Todd Frazier after completing one-year deals with the free agents.
Chirinos and Frazier both got contracts that included club options for 2021.