“I’m mad at this guy, the pitcher that came out talking about it,” Ortiz said on Thursday, referring to former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers. “You look like a snitch, you know what I mean?”
Fiers, who’s now with the Oakland A’s, detailed the sign-stealing scheme in the off-season, telling The Athletic that Astros personnel set up a video feed that focused on the opposing team’s catcher and allowed them to pick up the signals. Houston personnel would watch the feed from a hallway outside the dugout, then bang on trashcans in code to signal to the team’s hitters which pitches were coming.
Such a practice is against MLB rules.
Ortiz said Fiers should have spoken up in the clubhouse during the season, not to the media two years later.
“After you make your money, after you get your ring, you decided to talk about it?” he asked. “Why you gotta talk about it after, that’s my problem. Why nobody say anything while it was going on?”
During its investigation, the MLB found that the cheating system was used throughout the 2017 season and post-season and for part of 2018. The team’s manager and general manager were suspended, then fired by the team, which was fined $5 million and had a number of draft picks taken away.
Ortiz also predicted that Astros superstar Jose Altuve ― who won the MVP in 2017 ― could struggle this year, not because the team was no longer cheating but because of how he will be treated by fans and rival players.
“I don’t know how he’s going to be able to deal with all the trash coming from fans and everybody every time he steps on the plate,” he said.
Boston has its own issues with cheating to deal with at the moment. Baseball is wrapping up an investigation into illegal sign-stealing by the team in 2018 when they won the World Series. The team also fired manager Alex Cora, who was the Astros’ bench coach in 2017 and was named as a leader of the Houston sign-stealing effort. Cora will likely face punishment once the investigation into the Red Sox wraps up.
The team is also facing other penalties, including potential fines and a loss of draft picks.