As Carlos Beltran continues to shake off the rust of a 2 1/2 month stint on the disabled list, the natives are getting restless. Mets fans, who are a very impatient group to begin with, are getting very antsy and desperation is starting to set in.
Many of us including myself, expected the gifted center fielder to burst out of the gate and deliver the Mets to the promised land with his powerful bat, deceptive speed, and his gold glove caliber defense. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way and Beltran finds himself mired in a .228 slump, that have some suggesting he is to blame for the Mets 6-14 start to the second half.
I totally disagree.
Furthermore, shame on Jerry Manuel for throwing Beltran under the bus along with Luis Castillo before last night’s game in an interview with Kevin Burkhardt. On Monday, Manuel said the reintroduction of Beltran and Luis Castillo to the lineup following their injuries had changed the dynamic of the team. He went on to further say that the team was suffering with wins and losses partly because of the transition of the new players. I believe that comments like this only serve to widen the chasm that already exists between Beltran and many Mets fans. It was uncalled for and displayed very poor judgment by Manuel. Anyway, enough on that.
For whatever reason, the voices calling for the Mets to trade Beltran are getting louder and running rampant on the airwaves. Some say that the Mets are not a “win now” team and feel that we should get as many prospects as we can for him, while others just want him out citing clubhouse chemistry.
Both schools of thought are flawed and unrealistic in my opinion, and based on several factors Beltran is about as untradeable as a player can get. Here’s why…
1. He has an iron clad no-trade clause.
2. With Scott Boras as his agent, many teams will not give up much knowing full well that Beltran will bolt for free agency after the 2011 season.
3. His bad knees are still a concern and always will be. His injury history poses a very high risk, further diminishing his value.
4. He still has about $24 million dollars still owed to him. Unless the Mets are kicking back half that amount, they’ll be lucky to get one or two low level prospects at best. And chances are that the Mets will scoff at the notion of eating any portion of that contract.
In addition to those four reasons, there is another, and it might be the most compelling argument as to why Carlos Beltran is untradeable.
When the Mets landed Beltran and signed him to that $119 million dollar, seven year deal, there was a special clause his agent Scott Boras insisted in adding to the contract. At the time, it was no big deal because everyone in the Mets front office didn’t see any chance that Beltran wouldn’t play at a high level for all seven years of the contract.
As part of the deal, Carlos Beltran can not be offered arbitration after the 2011 season.
That means no first round draft pick and no supplemental first round draft pick for the team that trades for him. This also applies to the Mets if they hang on to him.
So now consider all five compelling reasons, and ask yourselves, what team would ignore all of that and still make a deal for Beltran?
How many teams have enough payroll flexibility to add $24 million dollars on a player who is a high injury risk, has Scott Boras as an agent, and will net you no draft picks at the end of 2011?
For 75% of all MLB teams, $24 million dollars represents 25% or more of their entire payroll, and for some teams it’s more than a third of their payroll.
I see only one team in all of baseball that would be reckless enough to deal for a player under all those conditions, and you know who they are. But, do you really believe that the New York Yankees will jump in and try to help their crosstown rivals? It ain’t happening.
Carlos Beltran is ours for the rest of this season and next. So lets all just hope that he quickly returns to form this season, and then follows that up with a huge walk year in 2011. That is not only our best case scenario, it’s the only realistic scenario as well.