Monday, July 11, 2011

Should the Mets Resign Beltran?

The first half of the season is over. The Mets are surprisingly above .500 and remain an interesting team to watch despite everything they've gone through. Think about it. The Mets have basically lost what many expected to be their four best players in Reyes, Wright, Davis and Santana. Jason Bay still underwhelms and the rag tag infield of minor leaguers is holding their own with a few daily errors thrown in for good measure.

But possibly the biggest surprise is Carlos Beltran. As the iron man of the Mets, Beltran has played virtually every game and showed that his legs are fine and his bat is still valuable. Beltran leads the Mets in every category that Jose Reyes doesn't. Beltran leads the team in homers, doubles, and RBIs and is virtually the only power threat in the Mets light hitting lineup.

While it was a foregone conclusion when the season began that Beltran would be traded by the end of July, the Mets quasi-competitive position makes that prediction a bit fuzzier. With Davis, Wright and Reyes still out for at least the next two weeks, the Mets can't trade Beltran and still be competitive. In fact, I think this begs the question should the Mets resign Beltran?

Money is a big issue for the ball club, but can the Mets get Beltran to sign a 2 year contract with an option for a third based on certain performance levels? If so, I think it might be the right move.

The Mets do not have an heir apparent for Beltran. Fernando Martinez was that guy, but he's proven to be more injury prone than Moises Alou. Duda is not the answer. Nick Evans isn't either. Jason Pridie is not an every day player. So the Mets would have to look at signing a free agent replacement if they wanted to maintain Beltran-like production from right field.

Beltran is a doubles machine which is a perfect fit for Citi Field. If Davis were healthy and Wright was in the lineup, I would bet that Beltran's numbers would see an increase as he would be getting some better pitches to hit. I don't believe the Mets would be able to get a better replacement on the free agent market or in their farm system so if the dollars can work out, why not sign Beltran?

Of course Scott Boras is his agent so that might be reason enough why a deal couldn't be made, but even if they can't sign Beltran, they can't trade him either. Nothing they would get in return would be worth it, and the team needs his bat to remain competitive.

I think Mets fandom has succeeded in the "don't trade Reyes" efforts. It's time to move our focus to Carlos Beltran. Possibly the most underappreciated Mets player of all time.

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