Have the Mets lost their best chance to make a strong deal for Carlos Beltran? Did they hold on to him too long? Depending on whom you read, the favorite to obtain Beltran appears to change from hour to hour.
And, none of the reports is glowing with young talent coming to Queens. A similar thread to most of the reports is a reluctance of any of the contenders to offer top prospects, although they might be will to assume more salary.
It is an impressive list from which the Mets have been asking – and being rebuffed.
The like Atlanta’s Mike Minor, Julio Teheran or Arodys Vizcaino; they are intrigued by the Phillies’ Dom Brown or Jarred Cosart; from the Giants they’ve inquired about Zack Wheeler, Brandon Belt and Gary Brown.
Not all of them, mind you, but they can’t seem to get a nibble on just one of these prospects.
The problem is these teams believe they can contend without Beltran, so why should they give up future chips for a rental?
So those earlier reports about the Mets raking in several prospects look frustratingly premature.
At this point, saving a few bucks hardly does the Mets any good. The Mets clearly have a bat teams covet, but that doesn’t mean they have leverage.
Other teams are aware of Beltran’s contractual status which precludes him being offered compensatory draft picks, which in turn puts the onus on the Mets to pretty much take what they are given. Not the position of strength GM Sandy Alderson envisioned.
Also, of the teams mentioned, from San Francisco to Boston to Philadelphia to Atlanta and Texas look as if they could survive without Beltran. There have been numerous reports this might go to the 11th hour, which doesn’t suggest a sense of urgency by any of the contenders.
And, it isn’t as if Beltran is the only bat on the market. B.J. Upton is being shopped by Tampa Bay, and his salary is far more palatable than Beltran’s. Plus he’s a lot younger at 26 and comes without the health risk.
Upton has some behavioral baggage Beltran does not, but the thinking is a change of scenery might do him well. Upton is also arbitration eligible after next season and will become a free agent in 2013, so he offers more flexibility.
These trades are about timing, and it is possible the Mets could be overplaying their hand if they haven’t already.