In the end, Carlos Beltran acted with his head over his heart.
While still believing he could play center field, the 33-year-old Beltran doesn’t think he could play to the level he had grown accustomed to immediately and told manager Terry Collins this morning that it was in the best interest of everybody that he move to right field now and let Angel Pagan play center.
Beltran said he wanted to make the switch now because of his knees, although Collins was prepared to give the veteran until the middle of the month to see if he can still play center.
“I have to think about my health and how to be in the field for the team,’’ Beltran told reporters this morning in Port St. Lucie. “ I believe the best decision is for me to play right field. It’s going to be less active, and I am looking forward to saving my knees for the long run.
“I know if I am healthy and I can play more time in the field, I can help this team offensively, even in the outfield. I know it will be a different transition for me to make but I feel I will be able to go to that.’’
When Carlos Beltran said at the start of camp he might need a little extra time to see if his arthritic right knee will adjust to the riggers of playing center field – saying he doesn’t want to be “embarrassed,” – he might as well have said the move to right field should be made sooner rather than later.
BELTRAN: Should make the move now.
I’ve been saying a healthy Beltran playing center could be easier to move at the trade deadline because of his contract, and while that might be true, him playing right field might be in the best interest of future contract. The move to a corner outfield spot will happen eventually, and with Beltran being a free agent after the season, his ability to show he can adjust now will only enhance his chances of landing another multi-year contract.
With the Mets undoubtedly not bringing him back, this year will be an audition for Beltran to prove he can stay healthy and be productive. At 34, any team considering Beltran would need to know if he can play the corner spot, so this year is an opportunity for him to get that question out of the way.
Right field will decrease the wear on his legs, which should help increase his offensive production, and that’s what any team will be looking from Beltran at this stage of his career.
Beltran’s pride might deter him from wanting to move positions, but there will be an even greater hit to his ego – and perhaps his bank account – if he tries and fails. From agent Scott Boras’ perspective, playing right field would prove to be a good business decision.
Scott Boras was right, Carlos Beltran will start the season with the Mets. The Red Sox signing Carl Crawford put an official end to that wishful thinking. So, with the exception of second base, two slots in the rotation and the bullpen, the Mets are set for 2011.
Sandy Alderson said he wouldn’t make a splash and he has been true to his word. Alderson said last night it would be highly unlikely the Mets would leave Orlando today with a starting pitcher. There’s still interest in Chris Young, but he’s thinking $5 million a year while the Mets are thinking less than half that. They are talking with Freddy Garcia.
The Mets have added a mediocre arm to the bullpen and a mediocre back-up catcher. The Mets are hoping three key players – Beltran, Jose Reyes and Jason Bay – are healthy and two starters will fall out of the sky.
All along, we’ve been looking forward to 2012, and this week just underscores that sentiment. Alderson did say the Mets would be competitive this season, but that’s vague. Everything has to break right for the Mets to be competitive and how often do things always break right?
It is good to see Carlos Beltran finish the season hot. He’s had a strong September, but not strong enough to where teams will be lining up to take him off the Mets’ hands. It is way too late for that to happen.
What this month is about is giving Beltran, and perhaps the Mets, peace of mind heading into the offseason and looking ahead to 2011. Beltran’s relationship with the Mets is not good, but the team is virtually powerless in an attempt to deal him. Unless the Mets agree to pay a large portion of his $18.5 million salary, he’s a virtual lock to stay in New York for the final year of his contract.
Injuries have sapped Beltran’s production for much of the last two season, so do you really think there’s a team out there willing to pony up the prospects and dollars based on one good month? Hardly.