The Houston Astros received one of the harshest punishments in Major League Baseball history earlier this week after the league published its report on the team's illegal sign stealing during the 2017 season, and one member of the media is blaming the whistleblower.
Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers, who played for the Astros in 2017 before joining the A's in 2018, was the first player to confirm to The Athletic that Houston used technology to steal signs from opposing teams.
ESPN baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza ripped Fiers on Thursday's episode of "Golic & Wingo" for exposing the Astros' cheating.
"Going public, yeah," Mendoza said. "I mean, I get it. If you're with the Oakland A's and you're on another team, I mean, heck yeah, you better be telling your teammates, 'Look, hey, heads up, if you hear some noises while you're pitching, this is what's going on.' For sure. But to go public, yeah, it didn't sit well with me.
"And honestly, it made me sad for the sport that that's how this all got found out. I mean, this wasn't something that MLB naturally investigated, or that even other teams complained about because they naturally heard about and then investigations happened. It came from within. It was a player that was a part of it, that benefitted from it during the regular season when he when a part of that team.
"And when I first heard about it, it just hits you like any teammate would. It's something that you don't do. I totally get telling your future teammates, helping them win, letting people know. But to go public with it and call them out and start all of this, it's hard to swallow."
There's an obvious conflict of interest here with Mendoza that cannot be ignored, in addition to the fact that blaming the whistleblower is a bad take on its own.
Mendoza, in addition to her ESPN job, works as an advisor to the New York Mets front office. The Mets recently hired Carlos Beltran to be their new manager. Beltran played on the 2017 Astros and was the only player named in the MLB's official nine-page report on the investigation into Houston stealing signs. He didn't receive any punishment from the league, but the situation still isn't a good look for the Mets, who must decide if they are going to keep Beltran or part ways.
UPDATE (Thursday, Jan. 16 at 1:10 p.m. ET): The Mets need a new manager,
Carlos Beltran is out as New York Mets manager due to his involvement in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, sources tell ESPN. He is the third manager to lose his job in the fallout.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 16, 2020
--End of Update--
Two teams involved in this sign-stealing scandal already chose to find new managers.
The Astros fired manager A.J. Hinch on Monday after the league suspended him through the 2020 World Series. The Boston Red Sox and manager Alex Cora "mutually agreed to part ways" Tuesday after he was named 11 times in the league's report. Cora was the Astros bench coach in 2017, and the league's findings concluded he played a central role in creating and implementing Houston's sign-stealing system.
There's more to come from this sign-stealing scandal as the MLB continues its investigation into the 2018 Red Sox, which Cora managed to a World Series title. It's unknown when that investigation will be completed.