Astros outfielder Josh Reddick told reporters Friday that he's received death threats via social media as news of Houston's sign-stealing operation continues to dominate baseball news cycles. He added that he's even received a message threatening his children.
"I hope your kid gets cancer," Reddick said a commenter wrote, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Countless other players on the 2017 Astros have also said they and and their families have been receiving death threats as well, including current A's pitcher Mike Fiers, who played with Houston that season. Fiers made the initial on-the-record comments that sparked MLB's investigation into the Astros' sign-stealing operation.
"Whatever, I don't care. I've dealt with a lot of death threats before. It's just another thing on my plate," Fiers told the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser Thursday, adding that he's only concerned for the sake of his family.
The MLBPA is aware of such threats, having met with members of the Astros specifically on Friday.
“Based on some of the commentary, there’s a heightened sense of concern to make sure that themselves and their families are protected,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark told reporters afterward.
On the field, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has said he has warned clubs around the league about targeting players both as a result of the sign-stealing investigation and in general.
"Retaliation in game by throwing at a batter intentionally will not be tolerated," he said last Sunday. "Whether it's Houston or anybody else, it's dangerous, and it is not helpful to the current situation."
On Jan. 13, MLB released a nine-page report detailing how Houston cheated during the 2017-18 regular seasons and '17 postseason. Manfred suspended Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow through the 2020 World Series, but owner Jim Crane subsequently fired them.
Managers Alex Cora and Carlos Beltrán were named in the report and later parted ways with the Red Sox and Mets in the wake of the scandal. Cora served as Houston's 2017 bench coach, while Beltrán was a member of the World Series-winning roster.
Countless players, both current and former Astros as well as others from around the league, have continued discussing the controversy as Spring Training has gotten underway. Reddick's comments Friday also indicate how widespread the incident has gotten.
"You just see the first things in your suggested box and it just says, 'I will kill your family. I will kill your kids. Blah blah blah,'" Reddick said. "It's depressing to read because it's over a game of baseball. It's not worth that kind of drastic measure."