Doug’s Dugout: More On Beltran And The Twin Terrors

An article by posted on March 2, 2011

In Doug’s Dugout today we discuss…, Carlos Beltran’s Moving Van, Luis or Ollie, and other icy thoughts:

What a tremendous leader Carlos Beltran is by acquiescing to the new environs of right field in favor of the more mobile Angel Pagan. And so early in spring training, too. Who needs a “quarterback controversy” anyway?

The Mets need more warriors like him willing to sacrifice for the upcoming revolution.

Except there is something rotten in Denmark.

Maybe Beltran’s pre-emptive strike was to avoid the embarrassment of the three-time gold glove winner being TOLD by manager Terry Collins to vacate his former domain. Because his fellow countryman is the more capable defender at this juncture. Certainly, Beltran’s creaky knees knows this to be true.

Maybe Beltran realized he couldn’t cut it anymore in center, and his only shot at staying healthy is load up his moving van and relocate to the less taxing corner position. And do it before the groundswell rises and he becomes the center of attention-everyone knows that he abhors that.

The positive residuals are he stays in the lineup and his bat secures a new contract. After all, his 7-year $119 million deal expires this year, and he must be wracked with anxiety with the prospect of all those empty wheelbarrows in his shed.

The book says he will be plying his trade next season in the American League as a DH and part-time outfielder, despite what his agent Scott Boras(s) says. That is little solace to Mets fans who have been waiting by the door with the light on for Beltran the past two seasons (145 games combined).

Listen up: Beltran showed his true colors by having surgery (against team wishes) last January (why not the Fall?) and helped ruin the 2010 season. By the time he returned-that coincided with the Mets slide, he was a shell of his former self and had to be shut down again in late September. He only cared about his next contract and had the temerity to brood that he was perceived as selfish.

Hey, if the stigma fits….

That said, here is the master plan: Showcase Beltran for the first half of the season and then deal him (but no team will take all of his remaining $9 million salary-expect the Mets to chip in because a penny saved is a dollar earned for Irving Picard) for a bucket of batting practice balls. If management is deluded enough to believe he could fetch multiple major league ready talent, then have I got a Ponzi scheme for you.

The bottom line is this is classic salary dump in the wait. Especially in these cost-cutting times by an organization not exactly flush. I mean, the Great Wilpon Empire has to borrow $25 million to pay their vendors? What does that tell you?

“We are broke,” shouted at ear-piecing decibels.

Finally, on a medical note, knees do not age like fine wine. Twisting and exploding is for young joints and has anyone checked Beltran’s birth certificate lately? He will be (an old) 34 at the end of April. Wait till he has to make the requisite sharp cuts on the base paths and then get back to me.

The only problem with Beltran not playing center is roaming the cavernous right field at Citi Field. One fly ball into the “Mo Zone,” and the unforgiving chain link fence, and Beltran’s Mets career is aborted.

(Come to think of it, the new ballpark and the Wilpon’s finances are similar: Grandiose Designs.)

Moreover, when you tabulate Beltran’s Mets career it boils down to a superlative three year stretch: 2006-08, when he averaged 33 home runs and 113 RBI, and was a defensive force. His first year as a Met, 2005 was a disaster. 2006, when he recorded a career high 41 home runs, his best. But, I recall that ended poorly.

The last two forgettable and headed for divorce court in this summer.

Most Mets fans would prefer that both Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo be jettisoned. Not likely to happen. My guess is management was hoping (and praying) that the one they could rationalize retaining was Perez, because of his heftier pay stub and his left arm. Problem is his left arm is attached to his head.

Advantage Castillo, who could be kept around as a defensive replacement for Daniel Murphy (the Mets have been pushing this guy for years, why stop now?) and a pinch-hitter when the team needs a walk. Welcome to the 24-man roster Terry!

Perez needs a little bit more rope and he thankfully will be (putrid) history. On the other hand, Castillo might be around a bit longer. Deal with it.

As the ice drips off the rooftop, one splash at a time, the warmer days of the baseball season begin to appear sharper in the puddle beneath.

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