Carlos Beltran’s future with the Mets remained very much in question Wednesday night as the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal continues wreaking havoc in the sport.
Beltran, named the Mets manager Nov. 1, has been at the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, this week preparing for spring training.
Whether the 42-year-old makes it that far in his current position was the subject of intense speculation throughout the day and night Wednesday as club hierarchy kept silent publicly on its intentions.
And late Wednesday night it was not clear what those intentions are.
In what can only be described as poor timing for the franchise, COO Jeff Wilpon is scheduled to be in Port St. Lucie Thursday for an event honoring Mike Piazza, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. The uncertainty surrounding Beltran is sure to overshadow the event in which a street near the complex will be named after the former catcher.
Meanwhile, two managers and one general manager already lost their jobs in the wake of the scandal, which came to a head Monday with the release of a nine-page report authored by commissioner Rob Manfred.
Astros manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were fired Monday after Manfred suspended the pair for one year for not doing anything to stop the cheating, the preponderance of which occurred during the 2017 season during which Houston won its first World Series title.
On Tuesday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora, the Astros bench coach in 2017 whose name was mentioned liberally throughout Monday’s release, was let go.
During a news conference Wednesday, Red Sox management addressed what they called a “mutual” decision of the parties to part ways, though they declined to discuss MLB’s still ongoing investigation into the club and the possibility Cora brought, and utilized, some of those same sign-stealing methods with him to Boston. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2018, Cora’s first season as manager.
“Alex was professional and understanding that he had made a mistake,” chairman Tom Werner said during the news conference. “After a couple of conversations, we all mutually agreed we needed to part ways. As we said yesterday, it was a sad day because we have such respect for Alex. He admitted what he did was wrong.”
Once Cora went, focus settled solely on the 42-year-old Beltran, a respected veteran in the Astros clubhouse in 2017 who was the only player highlighted by name in Manfred’s report.
“Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltran, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter,” part of Monday’s report stated.
An illegal operation ensued, the report said, which included the use of a centerfield camera and the banging of a trash can as a way of relaying the catcher’s signs to the batter.
The Mets, who all but dismissed concerns about Beltran and his role in the Astros’ misconduct when they hired him, have maintained public silence since Monday but have been scrambling behind the scenes trying to determine how to handle the situation.
One way or another, it would seem an answer will be coming soon.