Monday, July 13, 2020

Carlos Beltran poses a serious dilemma

Carlos Beltran is still the manager of the New York Mets…for now. As Alex Cora got a swift axe from the Boston Red Sox yesterday, Beltran still clings tenuously to the reins in New York City. Named as the instigator in a “player-driven” cheating scandal, Beltran finds himself in an odd position.

Whilst, AJ Hinch, and Jeff Luhnow were fired within minutes of the release of the Manfred report of the sign-stealing scandal, Beltran’s case is very different. From the outset, Commissioner Rob Manfred has said that GM’s and Managers would suffer the consequences of any cheating scandal. And whilst Beltran wasn’t either of those at the time, he is now a manager in the major leagues.

Further punishment awaits former Astros’ bench coach, and now former Red Sox Manager, Alex Cora, once the League completes their investigation. And whilst a lifetime ban may be the best course of action, that seems unlikely now given the leagues relatively oblivious stance on the issues.

Does Carlos Beltran escape punishment?

Judging from the tone coming from MLB, Beltran will not face any punishment for his role in the scheme, even though it seems to have sprung from his idea. In fact, no players look likely to face punishment for a number of esoteric, and somewhat justifiable, reasons.

Indeed, even as Jim Crane set in front of the media, appalled and unrepentant, many began to wonder how he received such a small punishment? If his GM and Manager were unaware of the scheme, they should’ve been aware, and should’ve stopped it, he says. But isn’t that also true of the owner?

If a team gains a competitive advantage through the playoffs and wins the biggest prize in the game whilst cheating, shouldn’t everyone be held fully accountable? Shouldn’t the punishments be somehow much more draconian?

And if a player, a clubhouse leader especially, concocts a scheme to cheat a team’s way to a world series triumph shouldn’t he face punishment?

Not in the eyes of MLB. Not now, and seemingly not in the future.

In fairness to MLB, at the time they issued their warnings, Beltran wasn’t a manager. So this has blindsided them in one sense. But the idea of one of the ring leaders going unpunished is hard to swallow.

Carlos Beltran faces no league punishment for driving MLB's latest cheating scandal
Carlos Beltran faces no league punishment for driving MLB’s latest cheating scandal

MLB is losing the optics battle

Former Yankee and Beltran teammate Mark Texeira is among those publicly calling for Beltran to be fired, and it seems that the League are the only ones’ not seeing how detrimental this scandal is to the reputation of the game.

So it falls on the New York Mets to do the honourable thing and remove Beltran from his new role. Now in a management position, Carlos Beltran needs to be held accountable, even if it is just a token gesture.

With no official suspension, he will likely get a bench coach job somewhere in a year or two, or maybe even this year. But a stand has to be made for the good of the game. The game has been tarnished by this scandal in a way that has not been seen since the Black Sox one hundred years ago.

But at some point, someone has to stand up and defend the game. Should it have to be a team that is not even involved in the scandal? Of course not. But that’s where the Mets find themselves. On the horns of a dilemma. To throw away work done in the offseason to protect the integrity of the game, and show MLB that the punishments so far have been unacceptable.

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Ray Burton
Ray writes mostly in-depth analytical pieces covering a range of sports from a more statistical perspective drawing his inspiration from the fanalytics movement. Ray writes on the NFL, Premier League, MLB, NHL, NBA, and NRL.

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