Tag: carlos beltran

Link Roundup: Playing Carnac

Carnac the Magnificent

The 2013-2014 offseason (for the Mets and other non-playoff teams, anyway) is almost two weeks old, and Mets fans are abuzz with speculation about what the Mets will do to improve their team.

Trying to predict the future can get kind of repetitive. The same names keep coming up – because those names will be available via free agency, or are widely believed to be trade candidates. But there’s only so much you can say or write about until deals actually start to happen.

That doesn’t stop us bloggers from trying, however.


What If Pedro Martinez Didn’t Sign with the Mets?

So, last night I was watching Bob Costas’ “Studio 42” interview with Pedro Martinez. One of the discussion points was Pedro’s leaving Boston for the Mets, and Martinez made very clear that he wanted very much to stay in Boston, and would have passed on Omar Minaya’s 4-year offer for a 3-year deal from the Red Sox, had Larry Lucchino not “waited till the last minute” / presented the contract so late in the process (according to Pedro, it was within 15 minutes before the deadline).

I vaguely remembered this turn of events, but hearing it again — and now with the benefit of hindsight — I really have to wonder: what if Lucchino had made that 3-year offer earlier, and Pedro re-signed with the Bosox? How might that have changed the course of history for the New York Mets?


Would Carlos Beltran Be This Good as a Met?

Remember this guy? He was the 7-year, $119M man in Flushing until last July, when he became the bait for Zack Wheeler.

Today, we get to watch Carlos Beltran swing for St. Louis. After playing out 2010 in San Francisco, Beltran settled for a mere two years and $26M to play for the Pujoless Cardinals. Through 49 games this year, Beltran is batting like the All-Star the Mets signed prior to the 2005 season. His 15 HRs match the total he hit with the Mets through twice as many games; his .594 slugging percentage is equal to his career high in 2006; his .988 OPS is 4 points higher than his career high (also in 2006). His legs must be feeling pretty good as well — he’s already swiped 6 bases, which is one less than he stole in 2010 and 2011 combinged.

With Beltran belting the ball the way he is, no one in St. Louis is lamenting the loss of their formerly beloved Prince Albert Pujols — especially since Pujols is hitting only .240 with a sub-.700 OPS on the Left Coast.

How has Beltran put up such big numbers through the first quarter of the season? Is he simply on a tear? Did he spend his winter drinking from the Fountain of Youth? Is he more relaxed in stress-free St. Louis?

Probably, it’s a combination of things allowing this new Cardinal to spread his wings. However, one factor jumps out at me: the supporting cast in St. Louis. When Carlos Beltran hit like a superstar in Houston, it was as a #2 hitter, with sluggers Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Jeff Kent, and Lance Berkman around him. His best years as a Met coincided with people like Carlos Delgado, David Wright, and Jose Reyes all performing at their peak levels. This year, Beltran reunited with a similarly revived Berkman, plus the big bat of Matt Holliday, as well as surprisingly swift starts by Yadier Molina, Jon Jay, Rafael Furcal, and David Freese. There’s no need for Beltran to be “the man” in St. Louis, because so many others are contributing. I think much of Beltran’s under-performance as a Met — in addition to the chronic injuries — had at least something to do with the perception of needing to carry the club, to be the main feared slugger in the lineup. That said, I wonder if Beltran would be performing similarly if he was wearing a Mets uniform today. Also, if Beltran were back in the orange and blue, would David Wright have emerged as the team leader? And finally, would the Mets be in first place right now, rather than looking up at the Nationals?

What do you think? And, are you looking forward to seeing Beltran play tonight? How do you expect the Citi Field crowd to receive him? Should the Mets have tried to sign him last winter — or was it necessary to make room for youngsters such as Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and Mike Baxter?

Post your feelings in the comments.


Are We Even Worse Off Than We Thought?

Last summer, while Jose Reyes was running away with the NL batting crown, I envisioned a fierce bidding war for his services developing over the winter. The way I figured it, there had to be at least a dozen teams lining up to throw money and years at him. After all, he is the total package, right? He has the speed, the energy, plays a premium position, has some pop in his bat and is on the right side of age 30. What team wouldn’t want him?

Well, we found out: there were 28 teams not interested enough to make contact with his agent and only one that made an offer. Reyes ended up signing with his only suitor, the Miami Marlins. And they got him for a contract that only two years ago would have seemed like a bargain.

There is an old saying about familiarity breeding contempt. After watching Jose’s entire career with the Mets, I was hesitant about seeing him get a long-term deal. Too many injuries! And for a team like the Mets with a long history of regrettable contracts, I felt that a multi-year deal was another ticking time bomb. FWIW, I think the Marlins will regret three, possibly four years of the deal. I favored dealing Reyes last July, but that’s another topic.

So, I watched and waited in hopeful anticipation during last week’s winter meetings. I was cheered by Sandy Alderson’s comments about listening to offers on everyone on the roster. That’s good. After three consecutive sub-.500 seasons, no one should be untouchable. A nice prospect or two, like what they got from the Giants for Carlos Beltran last July would certainly jump start the rebuilding process. What isn’t so good is the types of offers they reportedly received for what should be their prime trading chips, a.k.a the contract-friendly, major league ready starters currently wearing a Met uniform.

For example:

Daniel Murphy: Hit .320 last year and was 5th in the NL when he sustained a season-ending injury. Alderson praised his leadership ability. So here come the LA Dodgers with an offer of Tony Gywnn Jr. Tony Gwynn Jr.? He of the .660 OPS? On his third team in the past three years? Two years older than Murphy and nearly twice as expensive? WTF?

Ike Davis: Accordingly the Pirates, yes the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team that hasn’t won anything in 20 years, came calling, offering AA outfielder Sterling Marte and AAA pitcher Brad Lincoln. The latter is not a prospect: he projects at best as a 4/5 starter. Marte has some appeal, but he is at least two years away. Isn’t Davis supposed to carry a gold glove and have the potential to hit 30 homers?

• Jon Niese: I thought that left handed starting pitchers under team control for the next several years are just about the most prized commodity in baseball. So we hear the Mets are “listening” to offers on Jon. One would expect a long line of suitors. Nope. In fact one of those interested teams was the San Diego Padres. Then they hire Omar Minaya and they suddenly aren’t interested any more. Coincidence? Didn’t Minaya draft this guy? (Rhetorical question).

Bobby Parnell: Like Niese, Bobby is young and under team control for the next several years. Although not a southpaw, he does have that triple-digit speed fastball. He is also available. There aren’t even any good rumors out there about a deal for him.

So adding it all up leads to an unpleasant conclusion: the Mets are what their record says they are, which is a bad team with a roster full of players that most teams don’t have more than a passing interest in. The slow market for Reyes and the lack of interest in players from last year’s roster certainly indicates that. Perhaps the next coming weeks will reveal better news, but given the circumstances right now we are getting a good indication of what the market thinks about current Mets. Between this and the latest revelation on the Wilponzi’s finances, we may be on the precipice of a long dark age.


A Look Back: Michael Young

From time to time during this offseason, we’re going to randomly look back at some MetsToday posts from the past and see how they look now, with the benefit of hindsight.

To start, I offer you this suggestion made in early February 2011: Would You Trade for Michael Young?

At the time, the Rangers had Young on the trading block — even offering him to the rival Angels. My wild idea was to offer Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez — or Jason Bay straight-up — in return for Young. Granted, I have no idea whether Texas would have accepted either of those offers, but to me they could have made sense for both clubs.

Of course, I had no idea that Young would wind up hitting nearly .340; to me, it would be a good deal for the Mets because it would dump two big contracts while also providing middle-infield insurance through 2013 — in case, ahem, Jose Reyes would be departing.

Look back at that article again, including the spirited comments, and come back here to discuss what might have been.