Mets’ Carlos Beltran avoids punishment for role in Astros sign-stealing scandal despite key role

New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran avoided punishment in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal Monday as A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow face a yearlong suspension while Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora is reportedly expected to get harshly disciplined for his role.

According to a report from The Athletic in November, Beltran and Cora played a “key role in devising the sign-stealing system” during their 2017 World Series-winning season. Cora was a bench coach that season before taking a managerial role with the Red Sox in 2018. Beltran was a designated hitter and retired after the season. He became the Mets manager in 2019.

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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred determined that Beltran and a group of unnamed players devised a plan to “improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter.” Manfred said it was Cora who arranged for a camera to be placed in center field while one player would bang on a trash can to communicate the pitch type to the batter.

However, Manfred determined in his ruling that no Astros players on the 2017 team would be suspended because “assessing discipline of players for this type of conduct is both difficult and impractical. It is difficult because virtually all of the Astros’ players had some involvement or knowledge of the scheme, and I am not in a position based on the investigative record to determine with any degree of certainty every player who should be held accountable, or their relative degree of culpability.”

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Beltran told the New York Post in November that he was unaware of the camera in center field.

“I’m not aware of that camera,” Beltran said. “We were studying the opposite team every day. We took a lot of pride studying pitchers [on] the computer. That is the only technology that I use and understand. … It was fun seeing guys get to the ballpark to look for little details.”

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He added: “[In] the game of baseball, guys for years have given location and if the catchers get lazy and the pitcher doesn’t cover the signs from second base, of course players are going to take advantage. I don’t call that cheating. I call that using the small details to take advantage. I think baseball is doing a great job adding new technology to make sure the game is even for both teams.”