Jul 27

McCann injury could open way to Beltran deal to Braves.

The latest has the Mets closest to working out a deal involving Carlos Beltran to San Francisco or Texas, with Philadelphia and Boston lagging behind. But, that’s now and four days remain.

McCANN: Injury could shift Braves' priorities.

The Braves have been adamant about not giving up their prime pitching prospects, notably Mike Minor or Julio Teheran.

However, out of necessity, their thinking might have changed with last night’s 19-inning victory over Pittsburgh when they lost catcher Brian McCann indefinitely with an oblique strain. These are tricky injuries, as Mets’ fans are aware of with Jose Reyes. Two weeks on the DL could easily become three or four.

With Chipper Jones’ knee ailing, and Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth not hitting, the Braves are in desperate need of a power bat, which might cause them to reconsider at least Minor.

The Braves sought offense even before McCann’s injury, and now their needs are more pressing. They are the frontrunners for the wild-card and have enough pitching to win in the playoffs. But, they need to get there first, and that will take some runs.

Publicly, the Braves are saying they aren’t close with the Mets on Beltran, but privately it is another matter.

Beltran’s agent is Scott Boras and so far he has not made any indication of wanting to make a deal contingent on a contract extension, so this will mean nothing more than a rental.

 

Jul 26

Mets losing leverage in Beltran sweepstakes?

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.

BELTRAN: Where's he running to?

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.

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Jul 25

Beltran holds cards, but can’t be too picky.

Carlos Beltran has stated a preference of staying in the National League where he can play the outfield, but his first preference is to go to a contender, so Boston and Texas remain in play. He has veto power over any deal and hasn’t ruled out the Red Sox or Rangers, but has made it clear the American League isn’t his first choice.

BELTRAN: Can't disregard AL possibility.

Beltran doesn’t want to limit himself by being pigeonholed as a designated hitter because that shrinks his market, and subsequently what his next free agent contract might bring

“Right now, when they approach me about the teams, then I will decide if I would love to go to that place or not,’’ Beltran told reporters in Miami this weekend. “I made it clear to them that teams that are in contention are the ones that I’m willing to go to. … Right now, I feel so comfortable with the National League. I’ve been here seven years. I feel comfortable here. … It’s just seven years that I haven’t played in the American League.

“But let’s see. I mean, it’s going to be convenient for the organization, for sure, but it also has to be convenient for me. If it’s convenient for both, we move forward.’’

Beltran showed flexibility this spring with his willingness to move to right field, where he has stayed healthy and produced. He needs to continue to show flexibility this week if a trade is presented him to an American League team.

Beltran can’t take too hard line a stance because he can’t take it for granted he’ll never be presented with the DH choice. Beltran has stayed healthy after two years on the mend, but what if after this season a National League team is reluctant to offer him more than two years, fearing he was lucky this season?

It is one thing to show the market you can play the outfield, it is another thing to make too much of that demand where you alienate future buyers.

Beltran would be foolish to turn down Boston or Texas where if he played well he might parlay it into an extension. He can’t take the risk of vetoing a trade to an American League team and staying with the Mets and possibly getting injured and hurting his position in the market.

Most likely any trade for Beltran would be a rental, but good things can happen off a rental and if being the DH in Fenway Park can save some wear and tear on his needs, he needs to accept that option.

 

Jul 23

Five teams in mix for Beltran.

Carlos Beltran prefers a trade to a National League team because he’s not cool on the idea of being a designated hitter, but reportedly he’s willing to accept a deal to the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox. Philadelphia, Atlanta and San Francisco are also in the mix.

The favorite to land Beltran depends on who you listen to and when. Since the Mets are talking with the Phillies and Braves, there are apparently no reservations in dealing within the NL East. Their thinking is since they won’t win this season, it doesn’t matter if the Phillies or Braves win if the Mets can gain a cornerstone player for several years in exchange for a two-month rental.

Jul 22

Wright to return tonight; won’t be enough.

The Mets expect David Wright back in the lineup, hitting fourth behind Carlos Beltran tonight in Florida. Beltran, on the trade block, isn’t expected to be dealt by game time, but his days as a Met are getting shorter. Getting Wright back will not change GM Sandy Alderson’s thinking regarding Beltran.

The All-Star outfielder is drawing considerable interest, and he’s playing at a rate where he’ll likely command a prospect, not a throwaway player.

WRIGHT: Back of DL tonight.

Wright went on the disabled list May 18 with a stress fracture in his lower back. He sustained the injury nearly a month earlier.

Even though the Mets have played shorthanded, they managed to tread water. However, the Phillies and Braves have opened up sizeable leads in the NL East and wild-card races that make competing difficult and the Mets are in trade mode.

They’ve already unloaded Francisco Rodriguez and are actively shopping Beltran. Beltran said he’s like to stay with the Mets, but it is all public relations.

Even should Beltran stay, Wright’s return will not greatly improve their status, regardless of what some players believe.

“You forget what he brings, because this has been our team for so long,’’ Jason Bay said. “It’s almost like we’re making a trade. We’re getting a premier player, adding an impact bat, and even though he’s our own guy. It’s going to be big for us.’’

Players say that all the time when a player comes off the disabled list, but even with Wright the Mets didn’t have enough parts, especially on the mound.

If history is an indication, Wright will need a monster night to overcome the disappointing Mike Pelfrey, who is 5-9 with a 4.67 ERA.

If you think that’s bad, consider he’s 1-7 lifetime against the Marlins, including seven straight losses in his last 13 starts against them. He hasn’t beaten Florida since July 8, 2006.