The question doesn’t appear to be “if,’’ but “when,’’ the Mets will deal outfielder Carlos Beltran.
The physical questions that followed him into the season have seemingly been answered in the positive, which means the Mets don’t have to think solely about dealing with the American League, although there are several interesting possibilities, including Boston, Chicago and Detroit.
The Red Sox could have inside leverage because executive Allard Baird – who interviewed for the Mets’ GM job – was the general manager at Kansas City when Beltran played there. That could help in Beltran waiving his no-trade clause.
In the National League, San Francisco needs offense, as does St. Louis with Albert Pujols injured and out from four to six weeks. Lance Berkman could move to first base to replace Pujols and make room for Beltran in right field.
To move Beltran, the Mets figure to eat a portion of his $18.5 million contract. How much they digest could make it substantially easier to move him. Unless they decide to make a serious run at a wild card – which would have to mean adding players instead of subtracting them – it does the Mets no good to keep Beltran because they would not receive compensatory draft picks as he is not arbitration eligible.
As badly as the Mets want to save salary and add prospects, don’t look for a crosstown move to the Yankees for two reasons, 1) the Yankees’ priority is pitching, and 2) there should be no inclination on the Mets’ part to aid the Yankees.
Should GM Sandy Alderson trade him to the Yankees, it would clearly indicate he doesn’t have a grasp on the lay of the land in New York. The Mets are struggling, both on the field and financially, and the last thing they need is to trade a key player that could put the Yankees over the top.
A trading of Beltran would raise a white flag of sorts, but don’t trade him to a prime antagonist.