New Mets manager Carlos Beltran was among those who played a "key role in devising the sign-stealing system" the Astros used in 2017, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
According to Rosenthal, Red Sox manager Alex Cora -- who was the Astros' bench coach in 2017 while Beltran was a player in what was the final season of his career -- was among the other members of the Astros to play a "key role" in the sign-stealing.
Rosenthal added that MLB's investigation into the Astros is "virtually certain" to include interviews with current manager A.J. Hinch, Cora, and Beltran.
Asked at the GM meetings on Thursday about the potential involvement of Beltran, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said he hadn't yet spoken to Beltran and deferred to Major League Baseball on most questions since he didn't yet have enough information on the matter.
However, Van Wagenen did not seem concerned about any potential ramifications impacting the Mets.
"At this point, I don't see any reason why this is a Mets situation," he said.
MLB has also spoken with or plans to speak with other people from the Astros and Red Sox, including former Astros bullpen coach Craig Bjornson and former Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN.
In a wide-ranging report from Rosenthal earlier this week, former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers and unnamed sources shed light on the elaborate sign-stealing operation the Astros allegedly used during their championship season in 2017.
According to the report, the Astros utilized a camera in center field to relay signs during games, which is a violation of MLB rules. Once the signs were known, someone would bang on a trash can near the Astros' dugout to relay the kind of pitch that was coming.
In the Rosenthal report that came out Wednesday night, Beltran -- who texted Rosenthal -- said he was not part of the alleged sign-stealing that involved the center field camera.
"We took a lot of pride studying pitchers in the computer - that is the only technology that I use and I understand," Beltrán told Rosenthal. "It was fun seeing guys get to the ballpark to look for little details. (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."
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."
Shortly after being hired by the Mets, Beltran discussed how he utilizes legal sign-stealing, which involves deciphering tells from pitchers and catchers without the use of in-game technology.