Houston shortstop Carlos Correa is firing back after several days of rival players ripping the Astros for the perceived consequences of the team’s sign-stealing scandal in 2017.
In a lengthy interview with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Correa, who was the most honest and candid of the Astros in their statements on the scandal, ripped into Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger for his criticism of the team. Correa also defended teammate Jose Altuve from those who say his MVP award is illegitimate.
On Friday Bellinger ripped the Astros for their weak apologies, questioned whether the Astros used buzzers in 2019, and cast doubt on the legitimacy of Houston’s 2017 title.
In response, Correa called Bellinger uninformed for his comments.
“The problem I have is when players go out there and they don’t know the facts, they’re not informed about the situation and they just go out there and go on camera and just talk,” Correa said. “With me, that doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem right at all. So when he (Bellinger) talks about that we cheated for three years he either doesn’t know how to read, is really bad at reading comprehension, or is just not informed at all.
"The commissioner’s report clearly says that all those activities were conducted in 2017. (In) 2018 nothing happened. (In) 2019 nothing happened. It was just talented players, playing the game of baseball with passion and winning ballgames.”
Correa claims the Astros players were unaware of the “Codebreaker” scheme devised by the front office that was reportedly used in 2018, and went on to assert the Astros had not deployed their trash can banging scheme after the 2017 season. Correa then defended Altuve, disputing Bellinger’s claims that the Astros second baseman had robbed Aaron Judge of the 2017 AL MVP award.
“Cody, you don’t know the facts,” Correa said. “Nobody wants to talk about this but I’m going to talk about this. Jose Altuve was the one guy that didn’t use the trash can. The few times that the trash can was banged was without his consent and he would go inside the clubhouse and inside the dugout to whoever was banging the trash can and he would get pissed. He would get mad. He would say, ‘I don’t want this. I can’t hit like this. Don’t you do that to me.’ He played the game clean.
“The bangs that are on Twitter or whatever, that shows it. Altuve played clean the whole year. When you look at Altuve’s numbers on the road, he hit .400 on the road (.381 actually, compared to .311 at home). He didn’t cheat nobody of the MVP. He earned that MVP. He’s a six-time All-Star, three-time batting champion, MVP, five-time Silver Slugger. He’s been doing this for a long time.”
There is some data to back Correa’s assertion. According to the work of Astros fan Tony Adams, Altuve got a trash can bang on just 24 of the 866 recorded pitches he saw, a rate of 2.8 percent. That was the second-lowest rate among all recorded Houston hitters, with only Tony Kemp, who said he opted out of the scheme, coming in lower. There were, however, bangs in Altuve at-bats as late as Sept. 20.
Correa concluded his remarks about Bellinger bluntly: “You should get informed. You should be informed before you talk about other players. If you don’t know the facts, then you’ve got to shut the (expletive) up.”
There is much more in the interview worth reading. Correa denied the Astros used buzzers in 2019, and offered up a new explanation for Altuve urging his teammates not to rip his jersey off after his series-clinching home run in the ALCS. Correa also analyzed the 2017 World Series to argue that the Astros’ title was legitimate and argued the signs used by the Dodgers in that series were like “morse code” and too difficult to steal.
Correa isn’t likely to get the benefit of the doubt here from anyone, but it is by far the most impassioned and detailed defense offered by anyone associated with the organization yet. That alone makes it worth taking note of, even if nobody believes a word of it.
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