Former Yankees player and exec and 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.
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 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."
Beltran interviewed for the Yankees' vacant manager position in 2017 before the job went to Aaron Boone. In December of 2018, Beltran took on a role as an adviser to GM Brian Cashman.
The Yankees accused the Astros of whistling from the dugout as a means to steal signs during Game 1 of this year's ALCS. Hinch called those accusations -- first reported by SNY's Andy Martino -- "a joke."