According to reports, the Carlos Beltran Era is over. The man who dubbed the term “New Mets” when he was signed to a 7-year $119MM contract prior to the 2005 season has been traded to the San Francisco Giants. In return, the Mets get SF’s #1 draft pick (and 6th overall) from 2009, Zack Wheeler. The Mets will pick up $4MM of Beltrans remaining $6MM salary. Further details of the trade are still being revealed.
Sandy Alderson’s first two major trades have been good ones. First, he sent K-Rod, his vesting option, and his right hook to Milwaukee for two players-to-be-named-later. This gave the Mets some financial flexibility that should help them re-sign Jose Reyes. Now, he sends Carlos Beltran, his knees, and his lack of free agent compensation potential to the Giants for a top-level pitching prospect.
This is the kind of trade that will help both teams. The Giants get a much-needed offensive kick with the revived Beltran to help their push into the playoffs and beyond. It helps the Mets, because they wouldn’t have the money to re-sign Beltran at the end of this season, and they would get no compensatory draft picks if he left as a free agent. On top of that, Wheeler is a rising star who will immediatly bolster their farm system and help the big club in the future.
This is a move that may hurt the Mets in the short term. It will be hard to replace Beltran’s production (15 HRs, 66 RBI) in the third spot of the order. However, this opens the door for someone like Lucas Duda to play every day and at one position. Duda doesn’t seem like the kind of player who thrives in a part-time role. The Mets will still be entertaining, scrappy, and all of those other adjectives we’ve seen from them this year. But at 7.5 games back of the Wild Card, they probably were going nowhere anyway.
The biggest thing Mets fans should get out of this is how adept Sandy Alderson is at his job. He made a move that he absolutely had to make, and still got maximum value out of it.
As for Beltran, time will cause the memories of injury problems and the strikeout on a nasty curveball in a game the Mets wouldn’t have won anyway to dissipate. They will be replaced by:
- His toughness in 2005 when he came back from a head-first collision with Mike Cameron
- His career year in 2006, which included a couple of memorable walk-off homers against the Phillies and Cardinals
- His back-to-back 112 RBI seasons in 2007 and 2008
- His gutsy comeback from knee surgery in 2011
- His effortless, tremendous defense throughout his Mets career, including his clamber up Tal’s Hill in Houston
While his Mets career is over, the team’s future looks brighter than ever, thanks to Sandy Alderson.