NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Mets and new manager Carlos Beltran have “mutually agreed to part ways.”
Beltran was the only Astros player named in MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s nine-page report, which was released on Monday. That report also led to the firing of Red Sox manager Alex Cora who was Houston’s hitting coach. Houston also fired their general manager and manager for this scandal.
The team had been quiet since news broke of Beltran’s involvement in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal during their 2017 World Series championship season, when he was a player.
The Mets have said in the past it’s a Houston Astros problem, not a Mets problem. Now the Mets are caught up in it and have to find a new manager just weeks before pitchers and catchers are reporting.
“This isn’t a fun day, and it’s one we wish we didn’t have to be in,” said Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon certainly wasn’t in the mood to talk about Beltran at the unveiling of Mike Piazza Drive down at the Minor League facility in Port St. Lucie on Thursday, but later on he and Van Wagenen addressed the subject of the parting of ways. They said they met with Beltran on Wednesday night and again Thursday morning.
“This is not an easy decision for us. It was not an easy decision for Carlos,” Van Wagenen said. “In talking to Carlos, it was clear how challenging it was going to be for him to effectively manage the team going forward.”
On Thursday afternoon the Mets posted the following statement on social media:
“We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways. This was not an easy decision. 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.”
Statement from Carlos Beltrán. pic.twitter.com/gv9NNIzoQd
— New York Mets (@Mets) January 16, 2020
Beltran responded with his own statement:
“At the meeting this morning with Jeff and Brodie we mutually agreed to part ways. I’m grateful to them for giving me this 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 did not do anything wrong, but the Astros cheating scandal has hit players and personnel both in and far away from Houston. As a result of MLB findings, the league suspended Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for a year, fined the franchise $5 million and took away its 2020 and ’21 first- and second-round draft picks.
Astros owner Jim Crane then fired both Luhnow and Hinch.
On Tuesday, the Boston Red Sox parted ways with manager Cora, who was the Astros’ bench coach in 2017. The MLB report suggested Cora was heavily involved in the scheme. The Red Sox are currently under investigation for stealing signs during their 2018 championship season.
The drumbeat to fire Beltran kept getting louder and louder and, from an optics standpoint, the parting of ways with Beltran prevents an ugly situation from getting worse.
“In choosing him in the first place, this was a person we believed was best suited to lead the team,” said GM Van Wagenen. “As the weeks and months unfolded it became clear that wasn’t the case.
“Major League Baseball was taking the lead in this investigation,” he said. “They conducted all of the research from everyone and they made their decision and we supported that originally and we support that today.”
In another twist, the Mets’ special advisor to the GM, Jessica Mendoza – who herself is a broadcaster – when asked about the scandal called out the whistleblower, Mike Fiers.
“But to go public with it? Yeah, that didn’t sit well with me,” she said. “And honestly, it made me sad for the sport that that’s how it all got found out.”
Mendoza later clarified her comments, saying “Cheating the game is something that needs to be addressed, and I’m happy to see that the league is taking appropriate action.”
According to a previous online poll on CBSNewYork.com, 61% said Belran should be fired, while 39% said he should stay on.
Now the Mets will have just a few weeks to figure out who will manage this young team this year. The Mets have missed the postseason for three straight years and will now be looking for their fourth manager since 2017.