Mets part ways with manager Carlos Beltrán in wake of sign-stealing scandal

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Carlos Beltran talks after being introduced as 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)

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NEW YORK (AP) — Carlos Beltrán is out as manager of the New York Mets before a single game, the latest fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that has rocked Major League Baseball.

The Mets announced the decision Thursday in a news release, saying Beltrán and the team “agreed to mutually part ways.” The move came two days after Boston cut ties with manager Alex Cora, who was Houston’s bench coach in 2017 when Beltrán played for the Astros.

A day before that, manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired by Houston soon after they were suspended for the 2020 season by Commissioner Rob Manfred for their roles in the cheating scheme.

Next to fall was Beltrán, the only Astros player mentioned by name Monday when MLB issued its findings from an investigation into the club’s conduct. No players were disciplined, but the nine-page report said Beltrán was among the group involved in the team’s illicit use of electronics to pilfer signs during Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series championship.

“We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways. This was not an easy decision,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon said in a statement.

“Considering the circumstances, it became clear to all parties that it was not in anyone’s best interest for Carlos to move forward as manager of the New York Mets. We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. We are confident that this will not be the final chapter in his baseball career. We remain excited about the talent on this team and are committed to reaching our goals of winning now and in the future.”

The 42-year-old Beltrán, with no managerial experience, was hired to replace Mickey Callaway as Mets manager on Nov. 1. The former New York slugger was given a three-year contract with a club option for 2023 and introduced three days later by Van Wagenen and Wilpon during a news conference at Citi Field.

“At a meeting this morning with Jeff and Brodie we mutually agreed to part ways. 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,” Beltrán said in a statement.

Beltrán played the last of his 20 big league seasons with the Astros in 2017. Manfred said that year Cora was “an active participant” and developed the sign-stealing system used by the team, strongly hinting he will face severe penalties. Even though Cora was subsequently let go, the Red Sox remain under investigation for stealing signs during Cora’s first season as manager in 2018, when they won the World Series.

Beltrán becomes the first manager to be let go without managing a game since Wally Backman, who was hired by Arizona in November 2004 and fired four days later after legal and financial problems were revealed.

The Mets are the 11th team to change managers since opening day of last season.

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