Mark Teixeira Talks Yankees' Sign-Stealing During Carlos Beltran's NYY Tenure

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 22, 2020

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: Former New York Yankees Mark Teixeira throws out the first pitch prior to game two of the American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on October 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

MLB's investigation into the 2017 Houston Astros' illegal sign-stealing practices has prompted discussion about whether other teams have been engaging in similar acts.

That includes the mid-2010s New York Yankees, a team that ex-2017 Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran played for before heading to Houston.

Beltran was implicatedbut not punishedfor his role in the Astros' sign-stealing schemes.

Ken Rosenthal, Evan Drellich and Marc Carig of The Athletic expanded on his involvement in a Feb. 11 piece, and the trio noted Beltran told his Astros teammates in 2017 that the team's sign-stealing methods were "behind the times."

Beltran played for the Yankees from 2014-2016 and suited up for the Texas Rangers for 52 games in 2016 before signing with the Astros.

Mark Teixeira, a first baseman on those Yankees teams, spoke with Joel Sherman of the New York Post on Friday and said the teams engaged in the "old-school way of stealing signs" but never decoded signs in real-time or concocted an intricate system to do so.

"I don’t believe any of my Yankee teammates ever broke the rules by passing along signs to hitters in real time," Teixeira said. "We would have seen it."

Teixeira also said he didn't believe the system was particularly impactful anyway:

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"I thought personally it was BS because by the time they decoded and would get it to me [from second base], my at-bat was over or the pitcher and catcher changed the signs. They were wrong more than they were right. … Anecdotally, I would argue with teammates, 'You are not good at this. You are trying to give signs, then you get mad at me because I am not good at it either. We are not that good at it.'

"How you get good at it is decode in real time and bang on trash cans. That is way over the line."

Teixeira mentioned Beltran, Alex Rodriguez and Chris Young as three "guys trying to gain an edge" and that the trio spoke "about signs more than others."

However, Teixeira reiterated that he didn't feel his teammates ever crossed any standard norms across the league regarding the practice:

“But never were they, 'Teix, we have signs that we can relay to you while you are on deck or at the plate.' I was old school. They were getting the signs, and if you reached second base they would say, 'Check if these are them, then you can relay it to the hitters.’… We are talking the old school way of relaying signs. ‘We think this is the pattern and if you pick up the same pattern at second base, then relay it to the hitter.'"

Teixeira mentioned the team did take advantage of looking at monitors in a video room but that he "didn’t see anyone take it to the level of real time, run to the field and say, 'Mark, it is X sign'":

“The Astros took that to a whole different level. They used an algorithm in real time to decode and bang on trash cans. None of us even thought of stuff like that. That is next level.

“We would have a couple of coaches and players looking before the game [at video] and if, say, Josh Beckett were on the mound, they would say it looks like consistently it is the second sign once you are on base or the third sign or whatever."

When Sherman asked whether it was possible Teixeira simply didn't know about anything else going on behind the scenes, he said, "If there were any shenanigans beyond that, I had zero knowledge. Either I was left in the dark or it did not happen."

Yankees vice president and general manager Brian Cashman has spoken publicly on the matter: "Knowing there is no infractions regarding these issues and it being vetted by MLB several times over, I don’t think it’s worth commenting on."

Andy Martino of SNY.tv wrote Jan. 15 that MLB is not investigating the Yankees for sign-stealing.

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