What If Beltran Doesn’t Return?

Last night’s Met victory provided me with a brief moment of satisfaction as it pertains to this team. It’s frustrating seeing the Mets flailing away at the baseball at times. Johan pitched pretty well however, and the Mets finally won a series. Rejoice Met Nation!

I must broach a subject that has perplexed and exasperated me these last 48 hours though…

All winter and spring, I had deluded myself into believing Carlos Beltran would return in mid May. I have allowed myself to dream of a healthy Beltran being as good and as gold as ever, patrolling centerfield, flashing the leather, and lifting the Met offense… The offense, up to now inconsistent and borderline anemic, would be fine after Carlos’ return I told myself…

After seeing Joe D’s report the other day, and hearing Gary Cohen and Ron Darling discuss during the broadcast the other evening that Beltran will not resume running, I must profess I felt that sinking feeling that Beltran’s injury is much more severe than originally reported. Dr. Steadmans’ contention that Beltran should hold off until all ‘hotspots and bruises’ are healed have me searching my own mind at what the Mets would and should do long term.

What if Beltran can’t return this season? What if Beltran is, GASP, SWALLOW, possibly done because of the severity of his athritic knee. Is it that far outside the realm of logical thought or possibility? I’ve begun to come to the realization that it’s possible that we may not see Carlos Beltran this season. Is next year in jeopardy for Carlos if he needs total microfracture surgery? It sure is. I hope the Mets have ‘some’ insurance on the remaining 2 years of his contract. We are however, talking about year six and seven of his deal. It’s entirely possible the Mets are on the hook for most if not all the remaining dollars.

The question that needs addressing more than any other is this; Is Angel Pagan a viable, in house, inexpensive option for the Mets moving forward? Will Angel be seen by the organization as a long term solution should Beltran not return?  Pagan is a talented player, he can hit, but his baserunning is of little league nature and some of the angles he takes defensively, are to say the least, odd. Pagan’s good with the bat, which makes his other shortcomings easy to gloss over, until it costs the Mets a game.

Will Beltran’s injury have a cascading effect which will cause the Mets to be unable or unwilling to deal for starting pitching help? Dealing Pagan is not a viable option now or later this summer if Beltran is out beyond what was expected should a starter be needed. Will the Mets give shots to Fernando Martinez or even Kirk Nieuwenhuis? Would they deal either or both and go with Angel Pagan in centerfield long-term?

Personally I’d rather our team not be in this quandry. I’d rather a healthy Beltran, who I believe is our best all around player…but that delusion I had may be fading…just like Carlos Beltran’s career.