No one in baseball over the last decade was more revered than Carlos Beltran. Wherever he went — St. Louis, the Yankees, Texas, Houston — his teams landed in the playoffs. When Beltran reached his first World Series, in 2013, he was given Major League Baseball’s highest honor for character.

“I truly believe that Roberto Clemente would be enormously proud of you,” Bud Selig, then the commissioner, said as he presented Beltran with an award named for Clemente, the first native of Puerto Rico to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Someday, Beltran may have his own plaque in Cooperstown, N.Y., for a sterling playing career that ended with a World Series title in 2017.

Now we know that Beltran helped the Houston Astros cheat to win that title. Along with Alex Cora, the deposed Boston Red Sox manager who was the Houston bench coach, Beltran was instrumental in devising and implementing a system of electronic sign-stealing. Long respected for his ability to detect pitchers’ tells, Beltran broke the rules in Houston by using technology and not just his eyes.

The revelations in M.L.B.’s report on Houston’s scheme led to the suspension and firing of Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Manager A.J. Hinch on Monday, and to the Red Sox’s dismissal of Cora — who is facing his own M.L.B. discipline — on Tuesday. The league did not suspend Beltran, but only because he was a player at the time and not in a leadership role.

The Mets gave him one on Nov. 1 when they named him manager. But the disclosure of Beltran’s role in the Astros’ scheme changed his qualifications by shredding his best asset: that instant credibility.

“There were mistakes that he made as a player,” General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday, shortly after Beltran stepped down from the managing job. “There were mistakes that he recognized as a leader. And in assessing all of the information, all of the events that have transpired, it was just clear to both sides that in order to execute the job the way in which it needed to be that that was going to be very challenging.”

The most important word in that comment is “leader.” That is what separated Beltran’s case from those of others who found redemption after moral failings. Players return from performance-enhancing drug suspensions, and the boos always fade: Nelson Cruz became a respected elder statesman, Bartolo Colon a folk hero, Alex Rodriguez a ubiquitous crossover celebrity.

But none of them had been in a situation like Beltran’s, facing the challenge of returning immediately from a cheating scandal to lead a clubhouse and be the public frontman for an organization. That is the job of a manager, a role Beltran had never held before, and he is no longer equipped with the same strengths he had on Nov. 1.

Beltran’s impulse to lie about his role — in a text message to The New York Post after the scheme was reported in The Athletic — was not in itself disqualifying. But it raised questions within the Mets’ hierarchy about his instincts for crisis management, and undercut his credibility as their foremost public voice.

More critically, Beltran’s role in the scandal threatened to break the instant bond he would have had with players. Many players around the league are furious about the Astros’ cheating, and not shy about expressing it.

“They shouldn’t feel comfortable looking at any of us in the eye,” Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger tweeted on Thursday, adding in a later post that cheaters had cost other players money and jobs. “This is worse than steroids,” he said.

The Astros swept the Mets in a 2017 series at Minute Maid Park. Beltran homered there that season off Rick Porcello, a current Mets pitcher who was with the Red Sox at the time, and singled twice in a game there against another current Met, Marcus Stroman (then with the Blue Jays).

If Beltran had remained the manager, those pitchers, and all of the other Mets, would have faced a barrage of questions about his past. And while news media firestorms always pass, the issue would have constantly nagged at Beltran’s authority.

Could the Mets have stuck by Beltran, staged a news conference to let him express his remorse and then gone to spring training as usual? That was not an option for the Astros and the Red Sox, because Hinch and Cora wouldn’t have been allowed to manage this season anyway. But since Beltran got a free pass from the league, why not from the Mets?

“Here’s the best way I can describe it,” Van Wagenen said. “When we met with Carlos, we had to make an assessment of where do we go from here? And in Carlos’s thought process, as well, as ours, we both agreed that it was going to be incredibly challenging and incredibly difficult to do the job the way in which he intended.”

The foundation of Beltran’s effectiveness was supposed to be the unconditional respect he had always commanded. The cheating scandal crumbled that foundation — not forever, but for now.

“This is a person we believed was the best person to lead our team,” Van Wagenen said. “As the weeks and months have unfolded, it became clear that that wasn’t the case. And that’s difficult for us to have to recognize, it’s difficult for our fans to hear, it’s difficult for our players. This isn’t a fun day.”

The Mets should have pressed Beltran for more clarity on his role in the scandal during the two months after the story broke and before Commissioner Rob Manfred’s report was published. But even in a compressed time frame before spring training starts on Feb. 12, the Mets will have appealing options to replace him.

The coaching staff is not changing, so the Mets need a manager to fit within that structure. Hensley Meulens, who was supposed to be Beltran’s bench coach, coached for Bruce Bochy for years with the San Francisco Giants and would hold considerable appeal. The Mets strongly considered Eduardo Perez when they hired Beltran, and Perez — an analyst for ESPN and MLB Network Radio — seems to be aligned with Van Wagenen’s vision.

There is also a wide selection of longtime former managers who have guided teams to multiple playoff appearances, including Bochy, Dusty Baker, John Gibbons, Ozzie Guillen, Mike Scioscia, Buck Showalter, Ron Washington and more.

“I don’t think the values that we’re looking for have changed,” Van Wagenen said. “This team is one that we believe in.”

When they stopped believing in the person they chose to lead it, the Mets had to move on.

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