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Carlos Beltrán Shouldn't Have to Keep Paying for the Sins of the Astros
In the wake of post-cheating redemption arcs for Alex Cora and A.J. Hinch, it's time for Beltrán to get another shot
When the Mets hired Carlos Beltrán, their former superstar center fielder, to become their manager in the Fall of 2019, they never could have expected that he would have only held the job for a total of 77 days.
Then again, who in the organization could have anticipated what was coming?
As we all know, shortly after taking over as Mets manager, Beltrán became intrenched in the now-infamous Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. Eventually, this (temporarily) claimed the jobs of Jeff Luhnow, A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora. While Luhnow by-and-large remains blacklisted from the league, both Hinch and Cora only sat out for a 60-game, COVID-shortened season before immediately returning to their managerial digs; Hinch went over to a rebuilding Detroit Tigers team while the Red Sox kept Cora’s seat warm for a year before ousting placeholder skipper Ron Roenicke.
But of course those three were not the only ones to lose their jobs over the scandal as Beltrán, too, fell on the league’s proverbial sword. The difference there, though, was that Beltrán was a player when the sign-stealing occurred. Every other active Astros player from the 2017-19 seasons was granted immunity in exchange for their cooperation in the league’s investigation, yet Beltrán was implicitly named in the report that MLB released.
Commissioner Rob Manfred and those in decision-making roles within the upper echelon of the sport chose to make Beltrán their sacrificial lamb in order to quench the bloodlust of outraged fans. Baseball made the decision that they could not punish the players for their involvement but because Beltrán had retired they apparently had zero problem going after him. The problem was, they couldn’t hand down a suspension of their own because he was a player at the time, so instead, they included his name in the report knowing that the pressure would mount to the point where the Mets would have no other choice but to do the league’s dirty work for them and relieve Beltrán of his duties.
And now two years later, he is the only player or manager left that is still paying for the sins of the entire Houston Astros organization.
A.J. Hinch was given a multi-year contract and praised for leading the Tigers to a surprising 77-85 record this season. Alex Cora returned to the Red Sox and is back in the shimmering spotlight with the club advancing to the ALCS. Even the Astros organization itself has continued to thrive, making the postseason in both years since the cheating scandal came to light, led by the same core of José Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman.
Yet here sits Carlos Beltrán — a Hall of Fame caliber player and once highly regarded managerial candidate — out of baseball.
People will argue the success of Hinch and Cora as the reasons why they’re back in the sport while Beltrán is not and while this is accurate, both managers won their championships during or after the sign-stealing occurred. Beltrán has yet to get his shot; it’s time for that to change.
The Mets once again have an opening at manager, after letting the contract of Luis Rojas — the man hired late-in-the-game to replace Beltrán — expire last week. Once they get their front office in order, perhaps the organization will look to right a previous wrong and give Beltrán the opportunity he so desperately deserves.
Assuming he wants to return to the sport — and who could blame him if he wanted no part of a league that turned its back on him — it is time for an organization, whether it’s the Mets or someone else, to do the right thing and give this man his chance.