ESPN’s Buster Olney expects pending free-agent OF Carlos Beltran to be in high demand this winter, and he sees the Mets among six teams that may have interest in acquiring him.
The Cardinals will likely offer Beltran a one-year, $14 million qualifying offer, which means his situation is likely to go one of two ways, according to Olney:
A. “He could accept and return to St. Louis.”
B. “He could decline the offer and go into the free-agent market, and if he signed elsewhere, the Cardinals would get a compensation pick.”
Last week, Beltran said he would not rule out a return to the Mets, the New York Post’s Mike Puma reported on Twitter.
According to Puma, the Mets would consider reuniting with Beltran, however they remain concerned about his diminishing range in the outfield.
This past season, Beltran played 145 games for St. Louis and hit .296 with a .336 OBP, 24 home runs, 30 doubles and 84 RBI.
In seven seasons with the Mets, Beltran hit 149 home runs — including a career high 41 in 2006 — with 559 RBI, while batting .280 with a .369 OBP and a .869 OPS. He was a five-time All-Star, won three Gold Gloves, and two Silver Slugger Awards.
He once said, if he is lucky enough to be elected, he would be happy to enter the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets hat.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
I’m still a big Beltran fan and would be thrilled to see him return to the Mets. However, he’s also had such a bizarre history here, and in the end, I assume he’ll find another situation more attractive.
Sandy Alderson ended Beltran’s tenure with the Mets by trading him to the Giants for Zack Wheeler during the summer of 2011. However, the year before, Beltran chose to have arthroscopic knee surgery, which came as a surprise to then-GM Omar Minaya and COO Jeff Wilpon. The decision created tension between the front office and player that reportedly did not carry over to the new GM, but may have lingered with ownership.
However, according to reports, Wilpon and Beltran had a chat during the All-Star weekend and may have patched up some old wounds.
I hope this is true. But, his other hurdle would be the thousands of Mets fans who, for some reason, still don’t appreciate how talented and productive he was while wearing blue and orange. David Wright told me during the All-Star break that he felt Beltran was under appreciated, as well.
It’s frustrating, because every time Beltran does an interview with New York media someone pushes the narrative that Mets fans don’t like him. That’s not at all true. Sure, there are plenty of Mets fans who don’t like him, who didn’t appreciate him, etc. There are also many more fans who realize how awesome he was and why.
The fact is, the Mets need outfield help and they know Beltran. Also, because they finished in the bottom 10 in baseball’s overall standings, they will not lose a first-round draft pick if they sign him. The issue is his defense. Can he still play the outfield, let alone 81 games in Citi Field’s outfield? This is a concern and should be the only reason Alderson is skeptical when forced to consider the inevitable two-year, $30 million demand.
Read More: ESPN.com (Olney)