It’s not like Fred Wilpon wasn’t telling the truth.
Let’s face it, Carlos Beltran isn’t the player he thought he signed after the 2004 season. It’s true, injuries sapped his talent and forced him to move to right field in the final season of his $119 million contract, and the last two years have been a waste.
The contract and signing have looked more and more a bust as the team slid out of competitive status.
Wilpon called himself a schmuck for signing Beltran based on a strong playoff series while with Houston in 2004. Beltran had problems his first year getting acclimated to New York, but there was a toughness to him. Afterall, this is guy who played with a broken face after a gruesome collision with Mike Cameron in late 2005.
Beltran played hurt and for the next three seasons produced numbers, but no, they weren’t the numbers Wilpon had hoped for when opening his checkbook.
Beltran rebounded from his first year in New York to hit 41 homers with 116 RBI in 2006, but never reached that height again and slid to 33 homers and 112 RBI and 27 homer and 112 RBI in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Decent numbers, but more was expected for that kind of money.
And, as with most Mets, there was criticism about hitting in the clutch.
Injuries, coupled with the poor handling of them by the Mets, have many souring on the Beltran signing was a bust. Evidently, that’s the owner’s thinking.
I don’t have any problem with Wilpon regretting the signing, but when asked if the Mets were cursed he mimicked Beltran’s checked swing strikeout to end Game 7 of the NLCS vs. the Cardinals in 2006. Let’s be fair about several things.
First, it was a nasty pitch, and even had Beltran swung, there was no guarantee he would have made contact, and if he had, what would have happened. Who is to say he would not have popped up instead of doubling down the line?
The Mets had plenty of opportunities earlier to put that game away, and they had their chances earlier in the series not to have it stretch to seven games.
As far as that play signifying the slamming of the Mets’ window? Hardly. They had a seven-game lead with 17 to play in 2007, and also had a lead the last weekend of the 2008 season. Both years, they stared the playoffs in the eye. The Beltran strikeout had no bearing in either of those two seasons.
For Wilpon to suggest as such was unfair.
Beltran has been a good, but not great player for the Mets. His absence has been part of the problem for the team’s demise, but he hasn’t been the problem.