Reigning National League MVP Cody Bellinger did not hold back when commenting on the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.
Bellinger spoke to reporters ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers' first official spring training workout on Friday and offered his take on the Astros' public apologies.
"I thought the apologies were whatever," he said, per ESPN. "I thought [Astros owner] Jim Crane's was weak. I thought [Rob] Manfred's punishment was weak, giving [the players] immunity. Those guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don't realize is [José] Altuve stole an MVP from [Aaron] Judge in '17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us. But it's over."
His comments come one day after Crane, Altuve and Alex Bregman addressed the media and stumbled their way through through another apology.
An investigation by Major League Baseball found that the Astros stole opponents' signs electronically with the use of an outfield camera in 2017 and 2018. It relayed catchers' signs to a video monitor in a hallway between the dugout and the clubhouse at Minute Maid Park, and players alerted hitters that an off-speed pitch was coming by banging on a trash can.
The Dodgers lost the 2017 World Series in seven games to the Astros.
Although MLB's report said Houston's sign-stealing operation ended in 2018, Bellinger said he believes it continued in 2019.
"A hundred percent," Bellinger said. "I don't know why they would stop."
In an interview that aired Sunday with ESPN’s Karl Ravech, Manfred responded to Bellinger’s comments.
“I don’t agree that the disciplines were weak,” Manfred said. “I think the disciplines are strong enough that they will deter people from engaging in this behavior going forward. I think you need to think about the overall context in terms of what’s been done to people’s reputations, what they’re going to have to answer questions about, arguably for the rest of their lives.
“I understand Cody’s passion for the game, but I don’t agree with those comments.”
He's not the first Dodger to speak out against the Astros. At the team's fan fest last month, third baseman Justin Turner and utilityman Enrique Hernandez shared their opinions on Houston's World Series title.
"It's hard to feel like they earned it and they earned the right to be called champions," Turner said.