2010 Analysis: Carlos Beltran

It’s hard to evaluate Beltran’s 2010 season, since he only appeared in 64 ballgames, and the first 30 or so could have been considered “spring training games”.

Beltran was not ready to play minor league baseball when he returned to MLB just after the All-Star Exhibition, but Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel were desperate to retain their jobs (a running theme through these evaluations) and the Wilpons were desperate to sell tickets, so they activated Beltran anyway and hoped for a miracle. As it was, the Mets season went into an unrecoverable tailspin at almost the same time Beltran returned, making it seem as though the centerfielder was somehow responsible for the downturn. In truth, Beltran probably had nothing to do with the Mets misfortunes, but he symbolized the reason for them: desperation, unpreparedness, lack of depth, and a plan based on hopes and wishes.

2011 Projection

Beltran enters his walk year – the last of a 7-year, $119M contract (boy, time flies!). He will be paid $18.5M to hobble around the outfield on a bum knee but hopefully regain some of the offensive force that he flashed in the last 2-3 weeks of the 2010 season. His lack of mobility and speed significantly impacted his defensive skills in centerfield, so the hope is that he’ll be open and willing to move to a corner. One would guess that less running around in the outfield would help him be more fresh in the batter’s box and on the basepaths. Considering the excellent job Angel Pagan did in center for half of 2010, neither the Mets nor Beltran would be hurt by such a move. Beltran will be playing for a new multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract, so motivation will not be an issue, and he’d be smart to swallow his pride, move to RF, and focus on offense — teams pay more for hitting than they do for fielding.

My guess is that if the Mets don’t trade him over the winter, Beltran will come back strong in 2011, and likely be dealt to a contender at the trade deadline. If history is any indication, it could be the best thing that happens to him – and hopefully, the Mets.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. CatchDog November 23, 2010 at 9:19 am
    In my opinion, Tron is the best centerfielder the Mets have ever had. Yet he is one of the most under-appreciated players to ever wear a Met’s hat. From 2006 thru 2008, only Grady Sizemore had a higher WAR in all of MLB. And before the pain became too much to handle, he quietly hit .325 in exactly half of 2009’s campaign.

    A portion of the media and fanbase has portrayed Tron as lazy and has never forgotton the last at bat of 2006. Instead, I recall him playing through a broken face in 2005 and gutting it out in the lost 2010 season. In between, he made everything look easy, winning three gold gloves and two silver sluggers.

    I wish Carlos the absolute best, whether it’s wearing a Met uni or other. And I hope his knees allow him to get back to the level which clearly made him one of the finest in baseball.