SAN DIEGO — A’s starter Mike Fiers is the one player who openly accused his former team, the Astros, of elaborate and systematic sign stealing, and his comments last month helped launch Major League Baseball’s investigation into Houston’s behavior.
Monday at baseball’s winter meetings, Oakland manager Bob Melvin commended Fiers for speaking out in a story in the Athletic, saying, “I applaud him — if what we’re reading about is what was going on, it’s a line that’s been crossed.”
A’s vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said that he’d be surprised if anyone disagreed with Melvin’s assessment and said that if Fiers “was competing against a club and felt that was happening it would be kind of dumb not to say something, wouldn’t it? I don’t understand how it could be viewed differently, to be honest with you.”
Melvin said that Fiers had spoken to him about the allegations previously and, Melvin added later, “Nothing’s been decided and it’s tough to talk about when an investigation is going on, but obviously I have to say something because our guy is one of the guys who brought it to the forefront. But it’s been going on for years and if it happened the way it happened, MLB is going to have to do something about it, and it probably needs to be done.”
Beane takes Murray again: When Kyler Murray, the A’s top pick in the 2018 draft, decided to pursue football instead of baseball and went No. 1 in the NFL draft, Beane drew some criticism for selecting the two-way athlete and getting no compensation when he departed. But Beane remains a big fan of Murray — and he acquired the Arizona quarterback again this fall.
“He’s on my fantasy team!” Beane said with evident glee, explaining that front-office analyst Pike Goldschmidt “overbid for him, and I let him pay the bonus for him this time and then I traded for him.
“He’s a great kid, neat parents. I have fun watching him. He’s a great athlete — too great an athlete, unfortunately.”
Beane said he texted Murray that he was on Beane’s fantasy team and Murray responded with an emoji heart. “I let him know — Britney Spears, ‘Oops, I did it again,’” Beane said. “I traded for him. I was a little more efficient, I didn’t use all my capital. I was a little smarter this time, I let someone else use their capital.”
ALS research: One of Major League Baseball’s top charity initiatives will now include the Piscotty family’s ALS charity, which was initiated this year in honor of Stephen Piscotty’s mother, Gretchen.
Piscotty, the A’s right fielder and a Pleasanton native, took part in the Winter Meetings Charity Auction announcement Monday in San Diego; five charities will benefit from this year’s event, all of them focused on supporting those diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or on finding a cure for the disease.
Gretchen Piscotty died of ALS in 2018, and Stephen’s father, Mike, has worked tirelessly to start the ALS Cure Project, which provides incentive-based scientific advances in finding effective treatments.
Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected]
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