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New Mets manager Carlos Beltrán out amid sign-stealing scandal

In this Nov. 4, 2019, file photo, new New York Mets manager, Carlos Beltran, center, poses for a picture with general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, left, and Mets COO Jeff Wilpon during a baseball news conference at Citi Field in New York. Photo: AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File
In this Nov. 4, 2019, file photo, new New York Mets manager, Carlos Beltran, center, poses for a picture with general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, left, and Mets COO Jeff Wilpon during a baseball news conference at Citi Field in New York.

Updated: January 16, 2020 04:36 PM

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.

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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.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora fired in sign-stealing scandal

"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."

On a later conference call, Wilpon said the team had heard in advance "from sources" that Beltrán wasn't going to be suspended by MLB.

"I think the change was that when the report did come out, how prominent he was in it," Wilpon said.

The Mets said they will consider a number of internal and external candidates to be their next manager.

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 the statement.

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.

Manager AJ Hinch, GM Jeff Lunhnow fired for Astros' sign stealing

When the Mets hired Beltran in November, Van Wagenen said: "We can trust Carlos, and that goes a long way."

A little more than two months later, Beltrán is out in the wake of transgressions that occurred with a different organization, according to MLB.

And the Mets are looking for a new manager again. They will be the 10th team to change managers since opening day of last year, with the Mets making a pair of switches.

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.

In a Nov. 12 report by The Athletic, ex-Astros pitcher Mike Fiers, now with Oakland, went public with allegations that Houston players used a camera to steal signs in 2017. That prompted baseball's investigation, which found the Astros used the video feed from center field to see and decode the opposing catcher's signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal batters what kind of pitch was coming, believing it would improve their chances of getting a hit.

Beltrán told the New York Post in a text message he was "not aware of that camera." He told The Athletic the Astros "took a lot of pride" in studying pitchers via computer before games but insisted "that is the only technology that I use."

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