Oakland, Calif. — Mike Fiers and his Oakland Athletics might have reason to be downright mad.
They won 97 games each of the past two seasons to finish as the second-place team in the AL West behind the Houston Astros, whom Fiers called out in November in a story by The Athletic for a sign-stealing scheme that led to season-long MLB suspensions for Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch. The Astros then fired both. Fiers, the former Tigers pitcher, said the team had used a camera in center field to steal signs.
Alex Cora was dismissed by the Boston Red Sox after Commissioner Rob Manfred identified him as “an active participant” in the cheating scandal as then-Astros bench coach. Cora led Boston to a title the following year, in 2018.
The Mets also cut ties with manager Carlos Beltrán, who played for the Astros in 2017. Hired this offseason, Beltrán was let go before ever managing a game for New York.
A’s manager Bob Melvin and teammates applauded Fiers.
“As time goes on, he’ll be revered for doing this, for making the game a better place,” Melvin said, echoing sentiments shared by many of Fiers' former teammates in Detroit.
Fiers insisted at Fan Fest that he is moving forward, declining to address anything regarding what he did by speaking out or even his role cleaning up the sport.
He said he owes that to his teammates.
“I want them to be ready for the season,” Fiers said. “For me it’s all about getting ready for the season, playing baseball and not being a distraction to this team.”
Fiers appeared in 21 games — all starts — for the Tigers in 2018, going 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA before he was shipped to Oakland for two minor-league pitchers.