Two former members of the 2017 Houston Astros World Series-winning team -- both of whom are now captaining their own squads -- are reportedly in hot water over the allegations that the organization used a system to steal signs that season.
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora and newly hired New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran played a “key role in devising the sign-stealing system the team used that season,” The Athletic reported Wednesday. Cora served as a bench coach and Beltran, in his final season, was used mostly as a designated hitter.
Wednesday's report comes on the heels of a bombshell article in which former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers and other sources revealed to The Athletic the team used a sophisticated system to steal signs given by an opposing team's catcher to his pitcher. Houston allegedly had a camera set up in centerfield which was hooked up to a monitor in the clubhouse, and when a sign for an off-speed pitch was given, a team employee would relay the message to a hitter with loud banging in the dugout.
Two sources told The Athletic that the sign-stealing extended into the postseason in 2017, but another denied it went on that long. It’s unclear what role Cora and Beltran played in the alleged system, but they were reportedly not the only members of the team that participated.
Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations will likely probe Cora, Beltran and Astros manager A.J. Hinch, among others, according to The Athletic. Cora and Hinch declined comment when contacted by the website, but Beltran opened up to the New York Post about the sign-stealing allegations.
“I’m not aware of that camera,” Beltran said. “We were studying the opposite team every day. We took a lot of pride studying pitchers [on] the computer. That is the only technology that I use and understand…It was fun seeing guys get to the ballpark to look for little details."
He added: “[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.”
The Astros said they were investigating the allegations and cooperating with MLB.