PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — When the Mets parted ways with Carlos Beltrán, public opinion seemed split. Some believed the organization could have stuck by him while the buzz died down, others thought he had to go.
After a report from The Athletic on Tuesday, that debate received clarity. It stated that Beltrán was a driving force in the Astros’ sign-stealing system and “some Astros players, even manager A.J. Hinch, felt powerless to stop him.”
The Athletic’s report contained some additional details, including but not limited to:
- A story about Beltrán joining the Astros and commenting that Houston’s sign-stealing methods were “behind the times”
- An anecdote about Beltrán — when he was a special advisor with the Yankees — telling fellow employees that Houston was doing, “Nothing anybody else is doing.”
The Mets made the right move.
Imagine if this report had dropped with Beltrán here in Port St. Lucie, sitting in the manager’s office doing his job. Wednesday would be about anything but the first workout for Mets pitchers and catchers. By now, it is clear this story would have followed the Mets, who were tied to it.
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The organization is not without potential fault, though. On a conference call after parting with Beltrán, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said they did not ask Beltrán about his involvement after the sign-stealing allegations arose. That seems reckless, a missed opportunity to get ahead of the scandal.
But in the end, Wilpon and Van Wagenen made the right call. It would not have been fair to have players trying to win amid a firestorm of questions about Beltrán and the 2017 Astros. That would’ve been a clear distraction.
Argue it however you want, but cheating is cheating. When you take the angle of what’s best for the organization, it’s clear why the Mets let Beltran go. It’s now clear why he was the only former player named in MLB’s report detailing the findings of its investigation into Houston’s cheating.
Beltrán’s only public comment since MLB released its report was a statement when the team announced the news.
“At a meeting this morning with Jeff and Brodie we mutually agreed to part ways,” Beltrán said on Jan. 16. “I’m grateful to them for giving me the opportunity, but we agreed this decision is in the best interest of the team. I couldn’t let myself be a distraction for the team. I wish the entire organization success in the future.”
The Mets have botched many situations in their history. But they were correct with how they handled this one.