The New York Mets have announced that they are parting ways with their brand-new manager, Carlos Beltrán, amid a sign-stealing scandal that has rocked Major League Baseball.
"This was not an easy decision," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen 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."
On Monday, Major League Baseball's commissioner, Robert Manfred, detailed the findings of an investigation into sign-stealing by the Houston Astros during the team World Series-winning 2017 season and 2018 season. Beltrán played for the club in 2017.
Within minutes of investigation's release, Astros' owner Jim Crane announced that the team was dismissing general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch.
The investigation also identified Alex Cora – base coach for the Astros at the time – as one of the main architects of the elaborate scheme. Cora went on to manage the Boston Red Sox. On Tuesday, that team announced that it had "mutually agreed to part ways" with Cora.
The commissioner did not specifically punish any players for their role in the scheme. Manfred's statement provides little detail about Beltrán's involvement in the cheating, but it does say that he was one of the players during the 2017 season who brainstormed methods to improve how they were decoding the opposing team's signs to the batters.
In a statement Thursday, Beltrán said he "couldn't let myself be a distraction for the team. I wish the entire organization success in the future."
"Over my 20 years in the game, I've always taken pride in being a leader and doing things the right way, and in this situation, I failed," Beltrán said. "As a veteran player on the team, I should've recognized the severity of the issue and truly regret the actions that were taken."
"I'm very sorry," he added. "I hope that at some point in time, I'll have the opportunity to return to this game that I love so much."
According to the commissioner, the Astros used several methods to steal pitching signs. They would decode them using a feed from the center field camera to try to determine what pitch was coming to the batter. In a particularly bold method employed during the 2017 season, according Manfred, players in the dugout would bang on a trash can to signal to the batter.
Beltrán's departure leaves the Mets without a manager just over a month before spring training begins. It's not yet clear who will replace him.