MLBits: Beltrán on the Sign Stealing Scandal, White Sox Dealt Major Blow, Votto Goes Viral, Extension Notes, More

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MLBits: Beltrán on the Sign Stealing Scandal, White Sox Dealt Major Blow, Votto Goes Viral, Extension Notes, More

Chicago Cubs

Is there anything worse than a half-assed apology? Carlos Beltrán talked out of both sides of his mouth in an interview with YES Network’s Michael Kay that will air tonight, both admitting that the Astros were wrong for what they did while pointing the finger at everyone else. Let’s start there.

Carlos Beltrán Speaks on Sign Stealing

Years after the fallout of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal of 2017 and 2018, former Astros outfielder Carlos Beltrán finally spoke on the scandal he took part in. “We all did what we did,” Beltrán said on CenterStage with Michael Kay, per a YES Network transcript of the program, which airs Monday. “Looking back today, we were wrong.”

On Sunday, The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reported that Beltrán pointed the finger at the front office rather than himself or his teammates despite the knowledge that Beltrán was one of the players who helped devise the scheme in 2017.

“A lot of people always ask me why you didn’t stop it,” Beltrán said. “And my answer is, I didn’t stop it the same way no one stopped it. This is working for us. Why [are] you gonna stop something that is working for you? So, if the organization would’ve said something to us, we would’ve stopped it for sure.”

This sounds like an explanation that I would get from my kids if I busted them stealing extra screen time on the video games or something like that. Beltrán helped cultivate an elaborate sign-stealing system that helped propel the Astros to a World Series Championship in 2017. Beltrán is back in baseball with the new YES Network gig this season, and his fellow cohorts in the scandal that were disciplined by MLB A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora are also back in baseball, with Hinch managing the Tigers and Cora back in Boston.

Former Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is the only notable name from the scandal which hasn’t made a return to baseball.

Lance Lynn Will Miss Opening Day (and More)

On Sunday, the White Sox were dealt a significant blow when GM Rick Hahn shared that last season’s third-place finisher in the AL Cy Young race, Lance Lynn, will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a partial tear in the tendon of his right knee. Lynn departed his Cactus League start on Saturday night against the Diamondbacks with discomfort in the knee that sidelined him for a couple of weeks last season before the playoffs. An MRI on Sunday revealed the bad news.

With Lynn not expected to begin ramping back up again until four weeks from today, the White Sox will likely be without Lynn for the first two months of the season. The White Sox rotation is already pretty top-heavy, with Michael Kopech joining the rotation on an innings count and Dallas Keuchel limited to four-five (effective) innings per start at this point in his career. This opens up a spot at the end of the rotation for April and May that will likely go first to Reynaldo Lopez and second to Vince Velasquez (if Lopez sputters out of the gates).

According to Ken Rosenthal, the White Sox were indeed pursuing additions to the rotation even before Lynn went down this weekend with Hahn attempting to land Sean Manaea, who was ultimately traded to the San Diego Padres this weekend. Now, acquiring another starter becomes an even bigger priority for the White Sox. On Sunday, Rick Hahn told the media that the White Sox “may need to add at some point” despite praising their current group.

“I know we have a very deep and talented roster, and I know, like every club, we’re going to face some adversity over the course of the next seven months. The strength of the men in that clubhouse and coach’s room will serve us well.”

With the trade of Craig Kimbrel to the Dodgers on Friday and the news that Garrett Crochet will miss the season due to impending Tommy John surgery, the loss of Lance Lynn makes it three major league pitchers in a span of three days to be taken out of the equation for the foreseeable future.

Contract Extension Chatter: deGrom, Ramirez, Judge

In Ken Rosenthal’s weekend notebook, he provides us with the latest on the potential (or lack thereof) contract extensions for some of the game’s biggest stars that can hit the open market shortly, including Jacob deGrom, Jose Ramirez, and Aaron Judge:

Jacob deGrom, who will be sidelined with an injury for the first couple of months of the season, will likely opt out of his deal with the Mets this winter and test the open market. As Rosenthal points out in his column, there isn’t a better pitcher on the face of the earth than a healthy Jacob deGrom, but a healthy Jacob deGrom has been the issue of late. deGrom posted a 1.08 ERA in 15 starts last season.

Jose Ramirez and the Guardians aren’t close on an extension. Still, Cleveland has two more seasons of control over Ramirez, so there’s time there to get something done before the Guardians have to explore trading the slugging third baseman seriously. Rosenthal also reports that Aaron Judge and the Yankees are not close on an extension. Here’s what Rosenthal has pegged as one of the most significant issues standing in the way from the Yankee’s side of things:

“The problem for Judge is that his extension almost certainly would begin in 2023 when he will be entering his age-31 season. The Yankees might not be willing to give him more than six or seven years at that age, especially when he has played more than 112 games in only two of his four full seasons (he also missed more than half of the shortened 2020 campaign). Would a contract of that length be enough for Judge, even if the Yankees made him say, the second-highest paid outfielder in average annual value behind only Trout, whose AAV through age 38 is $35.54 million?”

Joey Votto Joins Social Media

Joey Votto is on social media, and he’s producing some darn good content right off the bat! This TikTok from Votto this weekend is hilarious, and the song/dance is mesmerizing. I’ve watched it probably 10 times in the last two days.

Not only is Votto busting out the dance moves and the comedic flair on TikTok already, but he also rolled out an 80-grade troll job on San Francisco Giants’ pitcher Alex Wood over on Instagram. Votto posted a video on Instagram where he claimed that Wood said Votto would have to follow him on Instagram if he struck him out in their Cactus League game, which he would do. Instead of giving Wood a follow, Votto removed Wood as a follower 😂!

The early returns on Votto’s newfound social media presence have been fantastic. I love to see this type of content from baseball players on their social media pages—getting to know players and seeing them as humans with other emotions that wee field is a treat and a great way to engage younger fans.

Extra Innings …

Just hours after being traded from the Oakland Athletics to the San Diego Padres, Sean Manaea switched clubhouses and suited up for the Padres throwing 3.2 innings against the A’s at Hohokam Park:

•   With Manaea joining the Padres rotation, Bob Melvin probably feels better about Mike Clevinger starting the season on the IL with right knee soreness. Clevinger has only made one start this spring and missed the entire 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in November 2020.

•   The Baltimore Orioles and the Miami Marlins struck a deal on Sunday:

•   As did the White Sox and Blue Jays:

•   Shogo Akiyama will not make the Reds Opening Day roster. Akiyama’s contract includes a clause in which Akiyama can refuse a minor league assignment. If Akiyama refused the assignment, the Reds would likely pay Akiyama $8 million in 2022, and he will become a free agent.

•   The Oakland A’s are the laughingstock of baseball these days, and rightfully so:

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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.