PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Carlos Beltrán refused to discuss his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal, preferring to concentrate on his new role with the New York Mets.
“Today’s not about the Astros,” Beltrán said Wednesday. “Today is about the Mets.”
Beltrán was hired by the Mets on Nov. 1, 2019, to replace Mickey Callaway as manager. But the team announced Beltrán’s departure the following Jan. 16 without him managing a game.
Beltrán’s departure was announced three days after he was the only Astros player mentioned by name in Major League Baseball’s report that concluded that Houston broke rules by using electronics to steal signs en route to the 2017 World Series title.
“I felt like that was a moment that needed to happen and I moved on,” Beltrán said.
He joined the Mets last week as a special assistant to general manager Billy Eppler. Beltrán said he didn’t expect to return.
“No chance,” Beltrán said. “No clue. That’s how the world goes around. … When this opportunity came, it was a no-brainer to say yes.”
Beltrán received 46.5% of votes in his first Hall of Fame ballot appearance this year, well short of the needed 75%. His role in the scandal likely impacted voters.
“I felt OK with it,” Beltrán said. “I know that I went through a moment in my career that was tough. I also know I had some fans and now I don’t have those fans anymore. But at the end of the day, I have to live my life. I have to move on.”
Beltrán said several clubs offered him opportunities to be an on-field coach this season. He sees his new role as a bridge between players and the front office, helping players understand the pressure of playing in New York.
“They test you, they push you, but most importantly they push you to be better,” Beltrán said.
Beltrán wants to be the mentor he didn’t have when he coming through Kansas City’s system.
“Because you didn’t have it, doesn’t mean you cannot give it,” Beltrán said. “In my case I feel when you are in the minor league system you need love. You need people to care about you. That’s why I’m motivated. I’m motivated because I didn’t have that person, and I hope that I can be that person for those kids.”
Now 45, the nine-time All-Star played with the Mets from 2005-11 and is sixth on the team’s career list for homers (149) and RBIs (559). Beltrán was the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year with Kansas City. He also played for San Francisco, St. Louis and the Yankees, finishing with a .279 average, 435 homers and 312 bases.
Beltrán spent last season as a game analyst for the Yankees’ YES Network.
“That opportunity created this opportunity, because when you are in the game and you stay relevant, people get to see your face and get to see you around,” he said. “It’s hard for me to disappear for five years and say, ‘OK, I want to get back in the game.’ No chance. I would be a dinosaur. You have to speak the same language baseball is speaking today.”
Beltrán wouldn’t rule out becoming a manager.
“You can never say no when you love the game, and you love being around guys and being able to impact players and make careers better,” he said. “At this point I’m OK where I am, but later on I don’t know.”
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