Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Wednesday Morning Hot Links

*Just as we all suspected - or at least hoped - they would, more details emerged about the Astros' sign-stealing scandal; Namely, that it originated with Former Mets Great Carlos Beltran, according to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich:
Carlos Beltran, a highly-respected veteran with a Hall-of-Fame resume, had helped create the system, and as the senior member of the [2017 Astros], his voice functionally prevailed over all other. Clubhouse dynamics are a powerful force, conditioning players to keep quiet and respect veterans, and ultimately played a role in the Astros' snowballing scandal.

(A non-paywalled version of the story can be found here)

This new reporting uncovers a few new details:
1) There was a system in place to relay signs to a runner on second base in real-time on the road via the replay room.
2) Brian McCann tried to get Beltran to stop on at least two occasions.
3) It was Beltran who told the Astros that their sign-stealing was "behind the times."
4) Codebreaker - the predictive Excel spreadsheet - was legal (as has been noted) as an advance scouting tool. "Cora and Beltran decided that this video room stuff Koch-Weser was doing was just not working, inefficient, too slow."
5) Depending on who Rosenthal and Drellich talked to, Astros players were either uncomfortable with the trash-can banging, or they loved it.
6) Beltran went from Houston and the parade back to the Yankees as an executive, and disclosed some of what the Astros were doing to New York.

Joe Musgrove:
I was in my first year, man, along with Bregman and a lot of those guys, and in your first year in the big leagues you're around guys like Beltran and McCann, some big names. And I'm not going to be the pitcher to walk up and tell 'em to knock it off.

(Speaking of Musgrove, he also said:
I don't want to say [the 2017 World Series] is tainted, but I think it is....If MLB did an investigation as thorough as they did on the Astros with every team in baseball, they're going to find a lot more than they want to find.

So Beltran arrives in Houston after 2.5 seasons in New York (and part of the 2016 season with the Ramgers, of which I have zero recollection) and tells them their sign-stealing isn't up to par, then he "fixes" it and goes back to New York. Yeah I see no Yankees connections to it at all.

And that's the thing: Manfred wanted this to be quick and easy and everyone hates the Astros anyway thanks to Brandon Taubman and the Osuna trade, he hoped MLB would just move on. Here's hoping they don't.

*This article from the Washington Post's Barry Svrluga and Dave Sheinin says that the Astros' sign-stealing was "a big open secret...throughout baseball" beginning as early as 2016 and "maybe earlier." And then, "the whole industry knows they've been cheating their asses off for three or four years."
Former Astros Great Tony Sipp warned the Nationals about their sign-stealing, as did several members of the Dodgers.

*Marwin Gonzalez, speaking to reporters:
I'm remorseful for everything that happened in 2017, for everything that we did as a group, and for the players that were affected directly by us doing this and some other things. That's why I feel more regret and that's why I'm remorseful.

*Speaking of players that were affected directly, Former Blue Jays Great Mike Bolsinger has filed a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing the Astros of unfair business practices, negligence, and intentional interference with contractual and economic relations.

Bolsinger is from McKinney [raises eyebrows]. He posted a career 0.5 fWAR in parts of four seasons, and walked 27 batters in 41.1IP in 2017. Bolsinger enjoyed an ERA of 5.50 or higher in three of his four MLB seasons. Bolsinger's last game was August 4, 2017 when he allowed 4H/4ER, 1K:3BB in 0.1IP at Minute Maid Park. The Astros fan behind noted that the August 4 game was when the trash-can banging peaked. Bolinger:
I don't think [Manfred's] punishment has fit the crime. And let's be honest, all these guys are going to get managing jobs again...Guys like us that were cheated? I don't have a job. I'm not playing.

Man, it would be a real shame for this to go to actual trial where details about what other teams were doing were required under oath. Sports Lawyer Michael McCann fleshes out Bolsinger's case.

*Jim Crane will head to West Palm Beach on Wednesday (today) to talk with the 2020 Astros about how to address the sign-stealing scandal to the media, which the team will apparently do on Thursday.

*Baseball Prospectus' updated PECOTA standings have the Astros winning the 2020 AL West by 12 games.

*Jesse Sanchez notes that the Astros have the AL West's best bullpen.

*The proposal to shake up MLB's postseason.

*Love and Lhotse.

*She was a running prodigy. He was the most powerful man in track. How her promising career unraveled.

*A Musical Selection: