Carlos Beltran says he is professional enough to listen to New York Mets' management if they want to explore moving him. That's all well and good, but he really didn't have a choice in the matter.
Listen, Beltran's value right now hovers between low and mediocre. Very few teams are going to want to take on the risk of a disruptive and injury-prone center fielder, let alone someone who is only in it for himself.
With free agency just one year away, there are only two ways his value could be even worse: by injuring himself even further or by playing the diva card and alienating the new management.
Regardless, Beltran needs to move to right field. In terms of the wear and tear on his surgically-repaired knee, a corner outfield spot is generally regarded as less hazardous. In terms of what is best for the team with the current roster, Angel Pagan needs to be the every day center fielder.
If Beltran insists on patrolling the middle of Citi Field, he further risks hurting himself and hurting the team. Both reduce the size of the contract he could get in 2012 and the number of potential suitors.
In a walk year, it's natural for a player, especially one of the caliber of Beltran, to want to maximize his worth and showcase his talents. He's not going to do that by hitting the 60-day DL in May and then again in August. He's also not going to do that by complaining about his role in the same way that Oliver Perez did.
I don't know how the Mets are going to find a trade partner for Beltran, and if they do it's not going to be any time soon. Should Beltran hit .280 with 10 homers in the first half of the season next year, then there are options for Sandy Alderson and the front office. Assuming he is still amendable to waiving his no-trade clause, there would likely be a few teams willing to take a shot on him. If not, well, then the Mets eat the final four months of his contract and wish him all the best in his future endeavors in the offseason.
If Beltran wants to be paid, he's going to have to be a model citizen both on and off the field.
He's saying the right things now, but it's going to take more than that to really endear himself to Mets fans who are generally unhappy with his attitude and what he has produced in comparison with his salary.
Now, if only Perez and Castillo would come out an publicly say they would agree to a trade...I'd be more than happy to put $30 toward a cab ride to JFK.
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