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 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.