Report: Mets' Carlos Beltran 'Played A Key Role' In Astros' Sign Stealing

Alex Greenberg
November 14, 2019 - 10:01 am

The Houston Astros are in hot water over allegations of sign stealing.

Listen to your team news NOW.

On Tuesday, the Athletic reported that Houston stole signs during home games during their 2017 championship season. According to the report, the Astros set up a camera in center field to zero in on catcher's signs, which were then relayed to batters by having team employees bang on a trash can in the tunnel near the team's dugout.

The fallout from the incident could affect Mets manager Carlos Beltran, who was an influential player on that 2017 team during the final year of his playing career. The Athletic are further reporting that Beltran “played a key role in devising the sign-stealing system” for the Astros that season.

These allegations come at a tricky time for Beltran, who, of course, has just been hired by the Mets to be their new manager. It’s Beltran’s first opportunity to be a manager in Major League Baseball, but he could be arriving with significant baggage, inlcuding an investigation.

The report from The Athletic also names Red Sox manager Alex Cora as someone who had a big part in creating the Astros’ system of stealing signs electronically. Cora was the bench coach on that team and eventually left to take the manager job in Boston after winning the World Series in Houston.

Carlos Beltran
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Beltran defended himself and the Astros in a series of text message comments that were also sent to The Athletic.

“We took a lot of pride studying pitchers in the computer – that is the only technology that I use and I understand,” Beltran told The Athletic. “It was fun seeing guys get to the ballpark to look for little details. (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.”

Beltran is correct that using small details to get an advantage has always been a part of baseball, but the real issue is the involvement of the camera. MLB rules draw the line at making it illegal to steal and relay signs through electronic means, which is allegedly what the Astros were doing.

The league is currently investigating the accusations. The Athletic claims that MLB has already reached out to members of that 2017 Astros team for interviews about the situation. Cora told WEEI that he had spoken to the league before declining to comment on the matter any further. It’s unclear if Beltran has spoken to investigators yet, but it seems likely that he will have to eventually. 

According to SNY's Andy Martino, it's "unlikely" that Beltran and Cora will be "significantly disciplined" without hard evidence of their involvement. 

The 2020 MLB season is still months away, and Beltran has only just started work in his new job, but this is already looking like something that could be a distraction for him, and thus for the Mets as well.