Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa shot down the notion Thursday that Carlos Beltran intimidated younger players into stealing signs during his time with the Astros in 2017.
As seen in the following video courtesy of ESPN's Marly Rivera, Correa insisted that Beltran didn't push other players to do something they didn't want to (warning: some language NSFW):
"That's just straight-up bulls--t," Correa said. "Beltran didn't intimidate nobody. Beltran's the nicest guy. ... You can talk to every single guy here that was here in 2017—Beltran is an unbelievable gentleman. He's a straight-up gentleman and nobody, not even you guys, would feel intimidated by his presence, by his leadership and whatever he has to say."
Correa's comments were in reference to a report by Ken Rosenthal, Evan Drellich and Marc Carig of The Athletic that Beltran was the driving force behind the sign-stealing scheme in 2017 and used his stature and veteran status to essentially force other players into complying.
As a result of Major League Baseball determining in its investigation that Beltran played a significant role in the sign-stealing scandal, he and the New York Mets parted ways last month before he ever got to manage a game.
Correa called Beltran "the best teammate we've ever had," and added, "We all had a say in everything that we were doing in there, and whatever he said and whatever we were doing, we had the chance to stop it as a team. Everybody had the chance to say something and we didn't."
Also, Correa suggested that the sign-stealing system didn't play much of a role during the Astros playoff run in 2017 compared to the regular season:
The Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series to win the first championship in team history, but the price has been steep for many involved.
Manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended one year each by MLB for their roles and then subsequently fired by the Astros.
Beltran was removed as Mets manager less than two months after his hiring and former Astros bench coach Alex Cora parted ways with the Boston Red Sox due to his involvement in 2017 and a sign-stealing scandal with the Red Sox in 2018 that is still under investigation.
Astros owner Jim Crane, new manager Dusty Baker and several players addressed the media Thursday at spring training, and the 2017 sign-stealing scandal was the biggest topic of conversation.
Current Astros players hadn't said much on the subject before Thursday, but Hinch apologized in an interview for MLB Network. Former Astros players Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton and Marwin Gonzalez expressed remorse as well.
The Astros have made it to at least the American League Championship Series in each of the past three seasons, including a trip to the World Series last season that saw them lose in seven games to the Washington Nationals.
Even with the scandal hanging over them and ace pitcher Gerrit Cole signing with the rival New York Yankees this offseason, the Astros are still expected to be contenders in the AL in 2020.