Carlos Beltran, an eventual Hall-of-Famer as one of the most dynamic center fielders of the 2000s, is back in baseball for the 2022 season working as an analyst for the New York Yankees on YES Network.
Quite the pivot considering he was once named the manager of the New York Mets ahead of the 2019 season — only to be fired months later before even experiencing a single game due to his role in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal of 2017.
It was the final year of his playing career, going out with a World Series championship, but now the 44-year-old admits that his triumph and ring are stained.
“Yeah, there is [a stain] because, you know what we did, and we all have taken responsibility and at some point, we all have shown remorse about what we did,” Beltran told YES Network’s Michael Kay in an interview that will air Monday (h/t James Wagner, New York Times). “Yes, we did cross the line.
“Looking back today, we were wrong. I wish I would’ve asked more questions about what we were doing. I wish the organization would’ve said to us, “hey man, what you guys are doing, we need to stop this.'”
Beltran, who was retired, was the only Astros player listed in the investigation carried out by Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball — putting him in the grey area of punishment.
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While active players like Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa were granted immunity to come forth with their stories, Astros manager AJ Hinch and then-bench-coach Alex Cora were fired from their positions — the latter as manager of the Boston Red Sox — at the time of Manfred’s findings.
Hinch has since caught on as a manager with the Detroit Tigers while Cora got his job back as Red Sox skipper after a year-long hiatus.
Beltran, however, had just been hired as Mets manager, forcing the organization to concoct its own punishment that ultimately led to his firing.
“100% [I cooperated with MLB’s investigation],” Beltran said. “The part that bothered me about that is that, you know, when I sit down to cooperate with them, they said to me, ‘We’re not going against the players. We’re going against… field personnel, front office, and organization.
“The fact that I’m the only player named in that report? So how… That’s the part that I don’t understand. Everyone gets immunity except Carlos Beltran? I don’t get it.”
Houston’s sign-stealing scheme has been well-documented by now. Images of the opposing catcher’s signs were relayed from a camera set up in center-field to a TV monitor just inside the tunnel of the dugout. A clubhouse attendant would then bang on a garbage pail to alert the batter of what pitch was coming.
“We felt that when teams were coming to our ballpark, we felt that some teams had something going on,” Beltran said. “So we felt that we needed to create our own [system], and that’s what happened.
“We felt in our hearts that we were being more efficient and smarter than any other team out there. That’s how we felt.”
It didn’t help his situation that Astros management didn’t alert the team that MLB reached out in the fall of 2017 with a directive to cease any such action.
“If [the Astros front office] got the letter, they knew, but they never shared it with us,” Beltran said. “Nobody said anything to us… I wish somebody would’ve said something.
“A lot of people always ask me why you didn’t stop it and my answer is, I didn’t stop it the same way no one stopped it… If the organization would’ve said something to us, we would’ve stopped it for sure.”