To be honest, in preparing for the Mets Holiday party, I was pretty sure there would be one player I would not get the chance to talk to: Carlos Beltran. With all the hype surrounding a possible position change or even a trade, I figured Beltran would briefly talk to the writers and reporters and then head out of there.
Surprisingly, he actually came over and talked to the bloggers. He even was joking around with us for a bit. Hopefully, Beltran can overcome the last few seasons and breakout this year because he really seems like he is trying hard to regain his image.
He said his knee is feeling much better, though it is not yet 100 percent. He is still working out and rehabbing and decided to refrain from playing any form of winter ball. Beltran is doing things he wasn’t capable of doing last year including heavier lifting in order to gear up for the season.
“My plan is to show up to spring training ready to go,” said Beltran.
Naturally, our discussion focused on the possibility of a position change. With Angel Pagan making a bid to be the starting centerfielder, Beltran may have to make the move to right.
“So far from what I have heard, I am the centerfielder of the New York Mets,” said Beltran. “I haven’t heard anything different.”
Beltran did say that he has talked with members of the organization and said he is willing to do what’s best for the team. He has never been a selfish ballplayer.
“If it’s best for the team for me to do something else, something different, I have no problem with that,” said Beltran. “I am an employee of the organization.”
It’s nice to hear Beltran say that now, but I’m curious what he will be saying if the change actually happens. A healthy Beltran could be serviceable in center, but Pagan showed last year that he can cover much more ground which will be important in the cavernous gaps of Citi Field.
“I would love to play centerfield because that’s where I feel comfortable, that’s what I’ve done my whole career,” said Beltran. “At the same time, if you can find a different guy who does a better job than what I do, that’s fine with me.”
Pagan did a fine job last year, so it will be up to the Mets brass to make this decision.
Coming off his injury year, Beltran said he has been training differently this offseason as opposed to previous offseasons.
“I’ve been doing a lot of rehab exercises, a lot of pool,” said Beltran. “I feel good, I feel strong.”
Steve Keane of the Kranepool Society then asked Beltran about his speed and if he might try to bring that aspect back to his game. Here’s where we all had a few laughs.
“Well, I don’t know if you can run like when you were 22,” said Beltran. “As a player, you get older every year.”
Beltran said he has talked with both Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins about the upcoming year. He was very familiar with Collins from his time rehabbing in Port St. Lucie.
“I do believe that the organization is putting a group of coaches that they feel have the expertise and the knowledge to help the younger guys and to help us win ballgames,” said Beltran.
I hope Beltran can enjoy much success this year. He is an important part of this team, and though he may not be here long-term, he will have to produce if the team has any shot of competing.