Tag Archives: Carlos Beltran

Bittersweet

Today I was planning on writing a post on why I didn’t think the Mets HAD to trade Beltran. Well amid reports that the Mets will trade Beltran to the Giants for top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, I guess that post would be pretty useless.

First, let me just say that prying Wheeler from the Giants for a two month rental is a fantastic move for the Mets. Alderson has made all the right moves in his first season as general manager, and he has impressed me once again with this one. Wheeler is projected to be a top of the rotation starter, who could even turn into an ace. He throws a fastball, curveball and changeup. Both his fastball and curveball are expected to be plus pitches and his changeup should become an average to above average pitch. His big problem right now is his command, which can be erratic at times. He averages 10k/9IP, but also walks 4+ in that time. If he can correct the command issues he should be able to contribute to the majors by next season, or as a September call-up if the Mets fall far enough out of it. (though I wouldn’t count on either happening. I’d say he starts next season in AA and eventually makes his way to AAA with Harvey, Familia and Mejia. One of those four WILL make it to the majors next year)

So that is the sweet part. Now to look at the bitter. Ever since Beltran signed with the Mets he has been one of the Mets’ best players. He has added a huge lift to this lineup, and his presence in the lineup and clubhouse will be sorely missed. The young players clearly looked up to him and it will be interesting to see how his departure impacts them.

From a fan standpoint, it is devastating to see him leave. Like I mentioned before, he has easily been one of my favorite players. It is a shame we will not be able to see him in the Mets’ lineup again this season.

Looking forward to his impending free agency, it will be interesting to see if the Mets make a move for him. He is almost certain to test the free agent market, so the Mets will have a chance. Right now Lucas Duda has every opportunity to show the Mets brass that he should be the team’s right fielder next season, but if he fails to impress then your only other in-house options are Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Fernando Martinez. Both have the tools to be successful, but both have had injury problems. Martinez has had problems throughout his entire career, never lasting a full season without a setback, while Nieuwenhuis’ injury has sidelines him for the rest of this season. The point is, can you trust any of these three to be your starter opening day? Couple that with the reports that Angel Pagan may be non-tendered and the Mets have a glaring hole in the outfield. What are the chances the Mets decide re-signing Beltran in the offseason for two years? Let’s just say, as a big fan of Beltran’s, I hope it can work out.

The Other Night

As the video indicates, I was at the game the other night. It was a hell of a time.

While I am not a huge fan of the new Brooklyn Dodgers stadium we refer to as Citi Field, I will give it one compliment: There does not seem to be a bad seat in the house. My friend and I decided to take our chances (easily the smallest gamble anyone has ever taken in the history of recorded life) and go to the game without tickets. Usually I just use StubHub, but those surcharges were starting to bother me. Anyway, we strolled up, took a chance and asked if there were student prices. Sure enough they had $10 tickets for us. As pathetic as this sounds, my night was already made.

After purchasing our ticket we looked for the shortest line into the stadium and quickly made our way towards one of the more awkward moments of the whole process, the “pat down.” For some reason I always find this awkward moment quite funny. You step up and some guy who looks absolutely miserable just tries to stare away (almost like if he doesn’t stare at you, it isn’t happening. Kind of that peekaboo logic) as he puts his hands up and down your body real quick. Not even a “jeez buy me dinner first” could cheer this guy up. (Though I am sure there are plenty of people who say that to them. I figure it must be beyond old for them) When he does find something on you, he just squeezes the objects to get a sense of what they are. I always feel they do this search to make sure no outside food gets in, as opposed to making sure no weapons make their way in.

After that whole exchange we look at our tickets and, as can be assumed, they were way at the top of the stadium. As we climbed staircase after staircase we think about sneaking into a lower section. (My friend goes to school in Baltimore and whenever we go to an Orioles game we can easily sneak into the bottom section. We even got lucky enough one time to have a fan give us two tickets for free because his friends didn’t show up. Then promptly used those tickets to get seats ten rows back on the third base side. Easily the best value I have ever gotten) Unfortunately there was security at every entrance. You can talk all day about how cheap this team seems nowadays, but money is no object when it comes to making sure people sit in their assigned seat.

We finally make our way to the top and get to our seats to find we actually had a fantastic view of the field. Gotta love that. $10 dollars and I have as good of a view as I need. Beautiful.

The game finally starts and before we know it the Mets are down 4-0. I just think back to the game the previous night, and that fantastic 4-2 victory. We had been deciding between going Tuesday or Wednesday and I was now regretting my decision.

While still invested in the game, I’ll admit we got sidetracked a bit before the Mets were able to get back into it. I think the most enjoyable conversation we had was after we saw this guy and girl walk into our section together. My friend instantly tells me, “I know it might look like they are together, but I’ll bet you anything that they are brother and sister.” We argued back and forth for a while (in fact I’m pretty sure they heard us) and I’ll admit, it wasn’t obvious one way or the other. As my friend pointed out, they looked ridiculously alike, there was no physical contact, and when it came time for the “fan photos” they seemed a little apprehensive about taking one. (though in retrospect that could just be because no one really wants to take those fan photos)

While we were debating this important issue, one of the highlights of the night happened. Beltran walked into the batters box and hit a bomb of a two-run home run to tie the game up. I’ll admit, part of my inspiration to go to the game was to see Beltran as a Met just one more time before he was traded. I honestly could not have asked for a better day to go see him.

Just watching him play again I was torn as to whether the Mets should trade him. He has easily been one of, if not, my favorite player on the Mets this decade. For all the crap he gets, he is a phenomenal player and a hell of a professional. At times like this I am so happy I am not a GM. Beltran is a fantastic player and leader. Someone who is great for your team. Unfortunately, if the Mets could pull in a top prospect for him, like a Dominic Brown, you have to make that move. Give up Beltran for 2 months, get a star right fielder for 10 years. It’s just smart. Part of me hopes that Beltran stays with the team past the deadline, re-signs in the offseason, and has another productive couple of years. Though I know that isn’t realistic, and, knowing the Mets, it would just blow up in their face. To sum that up: in a perfect world I’d love to keep Beltran; however, if the Mets could receive an impact player in return they have to make that deal. Only for an impact player. If a team like the Giants just wants to take on his salary and give low level prospects, keep him. I think the two months and extra time to negotiate with Beltran for next season is more valuable than a future bench player.

After that inning (though I admittedly don’t remember exactly what inning it was during) we also had a runner on the field. He had one of the more impressive runs I’ve seen at a stadium. Obviously nothing compared to Drew Barrymore in that Red Sox movie that I’m blanking on the name of right now (I know I could easily look it up, but that movie already stole enough of my time), and Adam Sandler in that even worse Anger Management movie, or even this kid at Houston http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7B4gic1-qU. Still it was a very entertaining run that kept us captivated. The run is posted in the previous article. This website is making it too annoying to post here.

Also another shocking thing that happened during an inning I can’t specifically remember, was Bay getting hurt and leaving the game. Perhaps the most notable thing about it was how little I cared. That is probably the worst thing that could be said about a high profile free agent signing getting injured. (After his performance following my article I’ve decided to only post negative things about Bay. I would feel worse about this if I thought he, or anyone really for that matter, would read this blog. Basically if the Mets screw up when I believe in them, maybe I should just stop hoping he can turn it around. The reverse jinx. Let’s hope it works!)

The game continued. It remained tied until the eighth inning when Bobby Parnell gave up a run. The run was scored on a squeeze play which was pretty impressive. Not something you see that often anymore. In fact, it is so rare an occurence that some guy behind me was left perplexed. He yelled to his friend sitting next to him, “Never before have I seen that in my life,” (which I now hear like this scene in Superbad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlHK4HgXjJ0 look at 2:20.) “They must have known the batter had terrible numbers against Parnell and just made something up,” he continued. And this guy calls himself a baseball fan. He literally commentated on the entire game. Let’s just say I have a new appreciation for Gary, Keith and Ron. Oh and by the way, at this point the “siblings” sitting in front of us started to kiss, which meant I had won our little argument, possibly the second biggest victory of the night. My friend still refuses to accept defeat. He has changed his stance to cousins from an accepting family.

In the bottom of the eighth inning the Mets were able to tie it up thanks to a clutch hit by Thole. At the start of the season I was really hopeful Thole would catch on and be a nice young hitter for us. He just had such a nice compact swing and eye at the plate, that I thought asking for .280/.330 10 hr and 60 rbi wouldn’t be crazy. I will admit though, I was scared about his defense and his ability to call the game. It shocked me that the organization was willing to move forward with Thole as the starter after going out to sign Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco the season before SPECIFICALLY for their defense and calls. The idea that last season the young pitching staff desperately needed a leader, but this season they were ok just didn’t make sense. Sure enough the pitchers struggled at the start of the season, and Pelfrey has struggled all year. Still Thole seems to have gotten more comfortable with the pitching staff and vice versa. This is only his first full season in the majors so I should give the kid a break. Rebuilding in New York right?

Isringhausen came on in the ninth and pitched phenomenally to send the inning to extras. Two great things about this. One Isringhausen has been spectacular as closer. He has only been used twice, but I have to say he has done a great job. I’m glad the Mets have decided to hold on to him. He can be a great mentor for Parnell and Beato. Two, it was the first game in extras I have ever been at. I have been to many many games in my lifetime. To finally be able to check that item off was great.

The top of the tenth came and went in a hurry as Isringhausen kept the Cards off the board again. Then the bottom half of the inning started up. Murphy popped up for the first out. That was enough to send a disgruntled fan over the edge. She screamed, “great, at the rate we’re going, we are headed for an eleventh inning!” I am so glad she was there to do the math for me because I was certain it was going to be the fourteenth after that. What a relief. Now a proper response would be: At this rate we are going to be here all night. (When I say proper, I don’t mean funny or clever, I just mean a logical response to explain your emotions, rather than a factual comment. I also don’t see complaining about a game going past the tenth inning in extras. How many extra inning games get decided in the tenth? Don’t answer that) After that little outburst, Pagan (or PAGONE! after that hit) went out to shut her up and hit a bomb to right center. Right after the ball crossed the fence my friend and I cheered and screamed as we ran down the innumerable amount of stairs in that stadium, ensuring ourselves the first train out of there to make our other train home. I also got to cross “walk-off win” off my list. (I know, I know, how have I not seen any of this stuff yet) Overall a great game and a great time. Definitely have to make it back out there.

Deadline Decisions

Will they or won’t they? That is the question on every Mets mind for the next few weeks. Sure the All-Star game is tonight, and that will be exciting, but when the guys playing the game don’t care to show up, I doubt it’s that prevalent in many fans minds. (Don’t get me wrong I love the All-Star game. I mean I already have my Mets jersey and hat on to cheer on our lone representative, Carlos Beltran. Ironic since it seems like he is one of the leading candidates to get traded in the next couple of weeks)

No, what’s on most fans minds is what management plans on doing during the trade deadline.

At the start of the second half the Mets go up against the Phillies, Cardinals and Marlins before anyone (Reyes, Ike, Wright) comes off the DL. Those teams include a team with the best record in baseball, two division leaders, and combine for a record of 149-125 (.544%). At the end of the week they could easily find themselves below .500 and essentially out of the wild card chase.

That gives Alderson a week to decide if he is going to trade Beltran, K-Rod, Isringhausen or Byrdak. (I didn’t mention Reyes because I can’t envision a scenario where they trade him)

So let’s play GM and try to answer this question.

K-Rod is the most likely to go because he has value and because the Mets don’t want to pay him $17.5 million next season. The interesting thing with K-Rod is, even though he is an extremely talented closer, the Mets probably won’t get much in return for him. Instead, the big reward will be the money the Mets save next season. I would say K-Rod goes regardless of the Mets position in the Wild Card race, and unless the trading team also wants Isringhausen or Byrdak back, I can’t see the Mets getting anything significant back.

The two relievers by themselves would probably bring back minimal returns as well.

This leaves us with the most interesting case of all: Carlos Beltran. Beltran cannot be given arbitration and so the Mets will get no compensation if he leaves as a free agent. He is due around 6-7 million for the rest of the season and has a no trade clause. Both of those things make it tough for the Mets to move him. Right now the talk is the Mets would receive a low-level prospect for Beltran.

What to do, what to do…

Don’t trade him. I understand saving the money could help with next season’s payroll. I don’t see it helping that much. As of now reports claim the payroll won’t be more than $120 million. Is it going to be less if they don’t trade Beltran? Furthermore I can’t stomach another salary dump. Two seasons ago, the Mets traded Billy Wagner when he returned from the disabled list to the Red Sox for essentially nothing. The move saved the team about $3 million. That offseason Wagner was a type A free agent, the Red Sox offered him arbitration and the Braves signed him.

A lot of the trade talk surrounding Beltran has the Mets eating a significant amount of his salary. If that is the case I obviously can’t call it a salary dump. What I don’t understand is how the Mets wouldn’t receive adequate compensation for trading away a player that is STARTING in the All-Star game, AND due only a small portion of his salary.

Yes, he would be a rental player, but so is almost every other player traded at the deadline. How many teams trade a player that is locked up at a reasonable price for several years? The Cardinals traded a ransom for Matt Holliday in his last year, and that was during a dreadful season from the All-Star. Yes, they were able to re-sign him in the offseason, but there was no guarantee of that.

What I’m trying to say is, Beltran could significantly help a contender’s chances. If the Mets can’t get proper compensation for him, they should keep him. (I just don’t understand how Beltran would land nothing, when the Mets were asked for prospects Ike Davis and Jon Niese for players like Xavier Nady, and Damaso Marte at trade deadlines in the past)

While it remains unlikely the Mets will make the postseason, it is still fun to watch this team. Beltran has been one of my favorite players since the team signed him, and I’d love the chance to watch him for a few more months.

More importantly, with the size of Beltran’s contract, the Mets could always trade him after the deadline as he is sure to make it through waivers. That way they can see if maybe they have a run in them, or wait out a desperate team. Perhaps a contender has a big injury and needs to replace the bat in the lineup. Beltran would be, by far, the best option out there. Hopefully that would lead to a better deal for the Mets.

Another possibility I’ve been thinking of is re-signing Beltran. It might be a long shot, but if Beltran would sign for cheap, he could be a good piece. I wouldn’t sign him and expect him to be the full-time starter, but bringing him back as one of several outfield options would be great.

I say one of several because I am still weary of his knees. I was not a fan of relying on Delgado at such an important position in 2009, but if he stayed healthy, it would have been a brilliant move. If you re-sign Beltran, but have other options in the fold, it is a brilliant move. Having a healthy Beltran in right field would do wonders for the Mets next season, and there is less of a chance he gets re-signed if he is traded this season.

So I guess, my decision as GM would be, trade K-Rod if you can, and hold on to Beltran unless there is an offer that blows you away.

Right Fielder Carlos Beltran

Via ESPN

“It was good,” Beltran said. “Normally you don’t see lefties in spring training. … From the left side I felt like I was a little bit more patient. From the right side I was jumping a little bit. Now I have an idea what I need to work on from the right side.”

Manager Terry Collins plans for Beltran to again serve as DH on Monday and get three at-bats, although Beltran cautioned: “Maybe playing tomorrow. Let’s see how everything feels tomorrow. You can do all the training you have to, but once you play games, the intensity is a little bit more. Hopefully tomorrow I feel good and I’m ready to go again.”

Beltran looked good today. Not totally healthy, but progressing. His play is probably one of the more interesting story-lines of spring training. When healthy Beltran is a game-changer and an integral part of the Mets offense.

His play is not just an important piece to the offense, but to our defense as well. In a selfless move, Beltran has agreed to play right field, allowing Pagan to roam center. Taking the demotion in stride avoids possibly problems in the clubhouse, and its not like having two great fielders is a bad thing. If Beltran is happy playing right field then we have a great defensive outfield as well. Something that is important when you consider the ballpark the Mets play in and the pitchers on their staff.

If the Mets have any chance of competing for a playoff spot they are going to need a healthy Beltran. A healthy Beltran teamed up with Angel Pagan and Jason Bay will give the Mets one of the top outfields in baseball. The pitching wasn’t the big problem last season, it was the offense. Let’s see if a full season of production from Beltran can change that.