New York Mets 2009 Rundown: Carlos Beltran

Andrew WhartonCorrespondent IApril 1, 2009

PORT SAINT LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets poses during photo day at Tradition Field on February 23, 2009 in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

In January 2005, not too long after they acquired Pedro Martinez, the New York Mets signed Carlos Beltran to a seven-year, 119 million-dollar contract.

Now entering the fifth year of that contract, Beltran, for some reason, still finds himself having to prove his worth.

In 596 career games with the Mets (since 2005), Beltran has a .275 BA with 145 2B, 117 HR, 418 RBIs, and 83 SB.

He has also won two Silver Slugger awards, three Gold Glove awards, and has been selected to three All-Star games. In just four years with the Mets, I'd say Beltran has accomplished more than what people give him credit for.

Since 2006, Beltran has also hit more home runs than any other current Met, with 101. In case you're wondering, Carlos Delgado has hit 100, and David Wright has hit 86.

In all fairness to his critics, Beltan did have somewhat of a disappointing season in 2005 after signing his lucrative contract with the Mets. A .266 average with 16 HR and 78 RBI isn't exactly what Mets fans had in mind for the slugger out of Puerto Rico, so naturally they weren't too pleased.

As to whether or not this publicly-expressed displeasure with his performance had a negative affect on Beltran, one could only speculate. After all, New York is the toughest place to play. Fans here are much more demanding than those in Kansas City.

So, unlike many Mets fans, I'm willing to give Beltran the benefit of the doubt and let that one season slide because he has earned his money the past three years. And, after watching him play in the World Baseball Classic this spring (as well as his spring training appearances with the Mets), I'm willing to say that he will earn his money this year, too.

You see, Carlos Beltran has done what many great players do as they progress through their career: he's matured.

Due to turn 32 later this month, Beltran seems to be more in touch with who he is, what his abilities are, what he is capable of, and how to go about playing baseball in New York City. To me, that is the mark of a great player. That is a player who deserves some praise.

Get used to it, Mets fans, because until his contract is up after 2011, el esta aqui.

2008 Stats:
161 G, 606 AB, 116 R, 40 2B, 5 3B, 27 HR, 112 RBI, 25 SB, .284/.276/.500

2009 Prediction:
155 G, 585 AB, 110 R, 38 2B, 4 3B, 32 HR, 115 RBI, 23 SB, .282/.275/.510