Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger did not hold back when asked about the Houston Astros apologizing Thursday for illegally stealing signs.
The Astros received unprecedented penalties from Major League Baseball in January after its investigation concluded Houston created and used a sophisticated sign-stealing operation over the last few years. Several people lost their job in the aftermath of the MLB's report, including Astros manager A.J. Hinch, Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora and New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran. Cora was the bench coach for the Astros in 2017 before he left to join the Red Sox as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He was named 11 times in the MLB's nine-page report on the Astros. Beltran was the only player named in the Astros report. He retired after winning the 2017 World Series with the Astros.
The team they beat in that World Series was the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bellinger was on the 2017 Dodgers squad that lost Game 7 at home to the Astros, and he put Houston, its owner and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on blast Friday with scathing comments.
"I thought the apologies were whatever," Bellinger told reporters at spring training, via Blake Harris of TrueBlueLA. "I thought (Astros owner) Jim Crane's was weak. I thought Manfred's punishment was weak, giving them immunity. I mean, these guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don't realize is (Jose) Altuve stole an MVP from (Aaron) Judge in 2017. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us."
He also added: "I know, personally, I lost respect for those guys. I would say everyone in the big leagues lost respect for those guys."
In addition to stealing signs, there have been accusations of the Astros using buzzers to relay signs to hitters. One example is Altuve telling teammates not to rip off his jersey after he sent the Astros to the 2019 World Series with a walk-off home run against New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. The MLB said it "found no evidence" of the Astros using wearable devices.
"I don't know what human hits a walk-off home run off Aroldis Chapman to send your team to the World Series, and, one, has the thought to say, 'Don't rip my jersey off,' but, two, go into the tunnel, change your shirt, and then come out and do your interview," Bellinger said. "That makes no sense to me."
The MLB is also investigating the Boston Red Sox for illegally stealing signs in 2018, although players are confident the team did nothing wrong. The investigation into the Red Sox reportedly will extend into spring training.