NEW YORK — Carlos Beltrán is out as manager of the New York Mets before a single game, the latest fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that has rocked Major League Baseball.
The Mets announced the decision Thursday in a news release, saying Beltrán and the team “agreed to mutually part ways.” The move came two days after Boston cut ties with manager Alex Cora, who was Houston’s bench coach in 2017 when Beltrán played for the Astros.
A day before that, manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired by Houston soon after they were suspended for the 2020 season by Commissioner Rob Manfred for their roles in the cheating scheme.
Next to fall was Beltrán, the only Astros player mentioned by name Monday when MLB issued its findings from an investigation into the club’s conduct. No players were disciplined, but the nine-page report said Beltrán was among the group involved in the team’s illicit use of electronics to pilfer signs during Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series championship.
“We met with Carlos last night and again this morning and agreed to mutually part ways. This was not an easy decision,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon 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. We believe that Carlos was honest and forthcoming with us. We are confident that this will not be the final chapter in his baseball career. We remain excited about the talent on this team and are committed to reaching our goals of winning now and in the future.”
On a later conference call, Wilpon said the team had heard in advance “from sources” that Beltrán wasn’t going to be suspended by MLB.
“I think the change was that when the report did come out, how prominent he was in it,” Wilpon said.
The Mets said they will consider a number of internal and external candidates to be their next manager.
The 42-year-old Beltrán, with no managerial experience, was hired to replace Mickey Callaway as Mets manager on Nov. 1. The former New York slugger was given a three-year contract with a club option for 2023 and introduced three days later by Van Wagenen and Wilpon during a news conference at Citi Field.
“At a meeting this morning with Jeff and Brodie we mutually agreed to part ways. I’m grateful to them for giving me the opportunity, but we agreed this decision is in the best interest of the team. I couldn’t let myself be a distraction for the team. I wish the entire organization success in the future,” Beltrán said in the statement.
Beltrán becomes the first manager to be let go without managing a game since Wally Backman, who was hired by Arizona in November 2004 and fired four days later after legal and financial problems were revealed.
When the Mets hired Beltran in November, Van Wagenen said: “We can trust Carlos, and that goes a long way.”
A little more than two months later, Beltrán is out in the wake of transgressions that occurred with a different organization, according to MLB.
And the Mets are looking for a new manager again. They will be the 10th team to change managers since opening day of last year, with the Mets making a pair of switches.
Beltrán played the last of his 20 big league seasons with the Astros in 2017. Manfred said that year Cora was “an active participant” and developed the sign-stealing system used by the team, strongly hinting he will face severe penalties. Even though Cora was subsequently let go, the Red Sox remain under investigation for stealing signs during Cora’s first season as manager in 2018, when they won the World Series.
In a Nov. 12 report by The Athletic, ex-Astros pitcher Mike Fiers, now with Oakland, went public with allegations that Houston players used a camera to steal signs in 2017. That prompted baseball’s investigation, which found the Astros used the video feed from centre field to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal batters what kind of pitch was coming, believing it would improve their chances of getting a hit.
Beltrán told the New York Post in a text message he was “not aware of that camera.” He told The Athletic the Astros “took a lot of pride” in studying pitchers via computer before games but insisted “that is the only technology that I use.”
Attempting to steal signs with the naked eye is a legal and time-honoured part of baseball — but using technology during games is prohibited.
“(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,” Beltrán said then. “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.”
Manfred said Hinch failed to stop the sign stealing in Houston and Luhnow was responsible for the players’ conduct even though he made the dubious claim he was not aware. Manfred said owner Jim Crane was not informed.
Manfred also said no Astros players will be punished because he decided in September 2017 to hold a team’s manager and GM responsible for sign-stealing infractions, a warning that was conveyed to all major league clubs.
“Virtually all of the Astros’ players had some involvement or knowledge of the scheme, and I am not in a position based on the investigative record to determine with any degree of certainty every player who should be held accountable,” Manfred said.
The report, however, indicated a group that included Beltrán discussed how to improve the sign-stealing system during the 2017 season.
Hinch and Luhnow, before they were fired by Crane, were suspended for the 2020 season without pay. Houston was fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and the Astros also will forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.
A nine-time All-Star, Beltrán signed a $119 million, seven-year contract with the Mets in January 2005 and helped them win the NL East in 2006. But the switch-hitting outfielder took a called third strike with the bases loaded against Adam Wainwright that ended New York’s 3-1 loss to St. Louis in Game 7 of the 2006 NL Championship Series.
Beltrán played for the Mets from 2005-11 before they traded him to San Francisco. He finished his career with a .279 batting average, 435 home runs, 1,587 RBIs and 312 stolen bases for Kansas City, Houston, the Mets, San Francisco, St. Louis, the Yankees and Texas. He interviewed to become New York Yankees manager after the 2017 season, when Aaron Boone was hired, and spent the 2019 season as an adviser to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.
Last month, the Mets hired Hensley Meulens as bench coach and Tony DeFrancesco as first base coach to fill out Beltrán’s staff. Meulens, 52, was San Francisco’s hitting coach from 2010-17, then was Bruce Bochy’s bench coach for the past two seasons. DeFrancesco, 56, spent the last two seasons as the Mets’ Triple-A manager and interviewed for the manager opening.
New York went 86-76 last season and missed the playoffs, finishing third in the NL East behind Atlanta and World Series champion Washington.
Understanding the connection between sporting events and online gambling today
Sporting events and online gambling have become increasingly more connected over the years, with people now having the opportunity to bet on their favorite teams or athletes from the comfort of their homes. Technology advancements have further strengthened the connection between sporting events and online gambling. Also, the rise of mobile devices and apps makes placing bets in a variety of casinos at Casinojungle Canada or any other listed online casinos more accessible than ever before.
The link between sports betting and gaming can be seen in many different aspects. For starters, there are now countless bookmakers around the world offering a wide range of betting options for almost any kind of sport imaginable. From football to basketball to ice hockey, these bookmakers give customers an easy way to place wagers on different outcomes. In addition, there are also numerous sites explicitly dedicated to sports betting that offer multiple betting options for each game or event.
How the popularity of sports is fueling the rise of online gambling
More and more people nowadays are watching and participating in sports, causing an increased demand for betting opportunities. This has led to the emergence of numerous online gambling sites that offer a wide range of betting options. These sites allow users to place bets on various sporting events. The convenience offered by these sites makes them very attractive to bettors who want to make quick money without leaving their homes. Additionally, many online gambling sites offer bonuses and promotions. This further encourages people to participate in online gambling activities. As a result, the popularity of sports is fueling the rise of online gambling worldwide.
How has online casino technology evolved over time to accommodate the increase in sports fans?
Significant changes have been witnessed regarding technological advances in the sports betting scene. One of the most significant changes is the introduction of live streaming services, which allow players to watch and bet on their favorite sports games in real-time. Additionally, online casinos have also implemented virtual reality (VR) technology into their platforms, allowing players to experience a more immersive gaming experience. VR technology will enable players to feel like they are actually inside a stadium or arena watching a game unfold.
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Analyzing the impact of media coverage on sports gambling trends
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The connection between sporting events and online gambling is a complex one that will likely continue to evolve as technology advances. It is important for bettors to understand the risks associated with online sports betting and take steps to ensure safe practices when engaging in this activity.
Jays Sign Chad Green
Here I thought the Jays were done signing people this winter, but they have picked up right-handed reliever Chad Green. He’s signed a two-year $8.5 million contract, with options for two more years.
Or it may be more complicated than that:
Source confirms: Free-agent reliever Chad Green to Blue Jays on 2-year, $8.5M deal. Second year is conditional player option that Green can exercise if Jays decline 3-year club option. If both decline, Jays get 2-year club option at higher AAV. First: @MarinoMLB, @ShiDavidi.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 31, 2023
Green had Tommy John surgery back in May of last year. Apparently, he has already passed his physical.
The options give the Jays some fallback in case he doesn’t come back from TJ being the same pitcher. But if he returns the same pitcher, we have him for the next four seasons.
Green turns 32 in May. He’s been a Yankee for seven seasons. He has a 3.17 in 272 games. In 2021 he had a 3.12 ER in 67 games and a 31.4% strikeout rate.
Welcome to the Jays, Chad.
Broncos trade for former Saints HC Payton
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos have agreed to a deal with the New Orleans Saints that will make Sean Payton their head coach, a person with knowledge of the accord said Tuesday.
The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams hadn’t announced the agreement, said the Broncos would send their first-round pick, No. 29 overall, in this year’s draft to the Saints along with a future second-rounder. Denver also will receive a third-round pick in the trade.
Payton remained under contract with New Orleans after stepping down from the Saints last year and working in broadcasting this season.
Payton, 59, went 152-89 in 15 seasons with the Saints and 9-8 in the playoffs. He led New Orleans to a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl following the 2009 season. He stepped away last year when quarterback Drew Brees retired.
The Broncos, who went 5-12 in 2022 and extended their playoff drought to seven years, fired rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett on Dec. 26 after he went 4-11. Interim coach Jerry Rosburg went 1-1.
Payton’s top task will be to get quarterback Russell Wilson back to his winning ways after the 11-year pro had his worst statistical season following his blockbuster trade from Seattle for four premium draft picks and three players.
The Seahawks reached the playoffs under QB Geno Smith in their first year without Wilson, and now they own the Broncos’ No. 5 overall selection in the draft in April.
The Broncos got back into the first round by trading pass rusher Bradley Chubb at midseason to the Miami Dolphins, who sent the Broncos a first-rounder originally owned by the San Francisco 49ers.
That selection, the 29th overall pick, now belongs to the Saints.
Payton was the headliner during this year’s cycle of head coach openings. Just five teams were searching for coaches: the Broncos, Texans, Panthers, Colts and Cardinals.
The Broncos conducted an extensive search, beginning with a virtual visit with Jim Harbaugh, who decided to stay at the University of Michigan. Also considered were Dan Quinn, DeMeco Ryans, Raheem Morris, Ejiro Evero, Jim Caldwell and David Shaw. The Texans hired Ryans on Tuesday.
NFL rules didn’t allow the Broncos to speak with Payton until Jan. 17, more than three weeks after they’d fired Hackett.
Team owner and CEO Greg Penner led the search with assistance from limited partner Condoleezza Rice and general manager George Paton.
Paton led last year’s search and landed on Hackett, one of several decisions that backfired on him in 2022 as Hackett became just the fifth head coach in NFL history not to survive his first season.
Others were the $70 million contract he gave to free agent Randy Gregory, who played in six games and recorded a pair of sacks, and the $245 million contract extension he gave to Wilson before the opener.
Wilson threw a career-low 16 touchdown passes and was sacked a league-leading and career-high 55 times in 15 games for Denver. He has vowed to do everything he can to bounce back in 2023.
Wilson played well for two weeks under Rosburg, giving the team hope that his poor performances last season were an aberration and that maybe his skill set was just a bad fit in Hackett’s offense.
Penner, his wife, Carrie Walton-Penner, and her father, Rob Walton, purchased the Broncos last summer for $4.65 billion, a global record for a professional sports franchise. But the team turned out to be more of a fixer-upper than they expected.
“When we purchased this great franchise in August, this is not the season we were expecting,” Penner said after firing Hackett. “I want to personally apologize to our fans and all of Broncos country. We know that we need to be better and we will.”
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