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Tag:Carlos Beltran
Posted on: July 28, 2011 2:22 pm
 

Mets keep Reyes, for now (and maybe later)

Way back when, Jose Reyes was the Mets player that the Giants coveted.

Way back when, Reyes was the player that you were absolutely certain the Mets would be trading this month. Even two weeks ago, at the All-Star Game, one person close to Reyes said he wasn't totally convinced Reyes would still be with the Mets after July 31.

And as for the chances that the Mets would be able to keep Reyes past this season? Way back then, that was laughable.

But after the Mets made the Carlos Beltran trade with the Giants official on Thursday, general manager Sandy Alderson said what had become apparent over the last week. He doesn't have plans to trade anyone else away this month, and he certainly doesn't have plans to trade Jose Reyes.

It's still hard to know exactly how much chance the Mets have of signing Reyes after the season. That's because it's hard to know what their financial situation will be, and also because it's hard to know how Reyes' outstanding 2011 season will affect his market value.

On the first point, it's worth noting that the Mets felt good enough about their money situation that they paid $4 million of Beltran's contract, in order to get the Giants to deal a better prospect (Zack Wheeler). There's no doubt that the lawsuit stemming from the Bernie Madoff mess has taken some favorable turns from the Mets' standpoint.

But even with that, Alderson was asked whether the $5 million saved in the Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez trades would be put back into the payroll, he said only that he was "fairly confident that at least a portion of it will be reinvested in players."

And Reyes?

"What about Reyes?" Alderson said, repeating the question on the conference call. "I don't know, $5 million is not going to get him signed. Hopefully, we'll engage him in the offseason."

For Mets fans who covet Reyes the way the Giants once did, that's sort of good news, because at least it is no longer a given that Reyes will be gone. Not only that, but it's now a given that he'll at least remain in a Mets uniform through September.

Way back when, that seemed impossible.
Posted on: July 28, 2011 1:33 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Giants' Sabean: 'We owed it to the city'

Anywhere you went this spring in Scottsdale, all you saw was orange and black. Anywhere you go this season when the Giants are on the road, you see orange and black.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean wasn't just blowing smoke when he said on the conference call to announce the Carlos Beltran trade, "We owed it to the city."

Look, I realize, teams don't just make trades to appease their fans. If they did, the Indians would be moving all their prospects for Ubaldo Jimenez, which is what many of their fans seem to want (even though it would be stupid).

But Sabean, traditionally cautious in moving his top prospects, understands where the Giants stand right now. He realizes that after winning the World Series last year, and with a pitching staff capable of getting them back there this year, this was the time for a bold move.

Sabean hates acquiring rental players, but he understands this is a different situation.

"We're at an interesting point in time," he said Thursday.

Yes, they are. And Sabean understands as well as anyone that it's a general manager's responsibility to read that calendar, and react properly to it.

He understands that the Giants have sold out every home game this season, that they're riding a high and ought to capitalize on it.

When I asked on Twitter the other day whether Beltran was worth a top prospect, given that the Giants could make it to the playoffs with or without him, a Giants fan quickly wrote back, "Back-to-back world champions sounds a lot better than back-to-back division titles."

Beltran doesn't guarantee the Giants anything, but this trade shows Sabean was serious about giving his team its best chance to win.

"Hopefully, this shows that we mean business," he said. "If I was a player, I'd appreciate it. And I think about them."

Sabean isn't necessarily done. The Giants would still love to upgrade, and could do so at any of three spots (catcher, shortstop or center field). But according to sources, nothing is close to hot at the moment on any of those fronts.

That's fine. If the Giants just get Beltran, they're a winner at this trade deadline.

Zack Wheeler, the prospect the Giants gave up for Beltran, is a big "get" for the Mets. But he's also still in Class A.

"It's our job to find another Wheeler, develop another Wheeler," he said.

The Giants have been outstanding at developing pitching, as their strong rotation shows. Dick Tidrow, Sabean's pitching guru, is mostly responsible.

Tidrow assured Sabean that the Giants have enough depth to make up for the loss of Wheeler, The Giants decided they would rather part with a pitcher than a position player.

They knew they wanted Beltran, "the player we coveted all along," according to Sabean.

And they knew the time was right for a move like this.

"We owed it to the city," Sabean said.

And he's right.

Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:38 pm
 

No Beltran, no Pence, but Phils want relievers

Yes, the Phillies made an effort for Carlos Beltran, before backing down and allowing him to go to the Giants. Yes, the Phillies talked to the Astros about Hunter Pence, although it appears now that nothing will happen, and the Astros will look to deal Pence in the winter, instead.

And as usual, the Phillies' biggest acquisition this month might well be a pitcher.

The Phillies remain among the teams most interested in Padres relievers Heath Bell and Mike Adams, although like others they continue to complain about the high prices. The Phils have looked at the Orioles and other teams, as well, in hopes of finding bullpen help.

I know, the Phillies bullpen has been among the most successful in the game this year. Their three blown saves are the fewest in the majors, and only one of the three came in the ninth inning. And after playing much of the year with three closers (Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras) on the disabled list, the Phillies now have Madson and Lidge back on the active roster.

Fine. But fast-forward to October, because the Phillies are all about October.

Do you feel comfortable with Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo pitching late in games in the playoffs? Are you sure about Madson as your playoff closer? Will Lidge be healthy and strong enough to help?

People who talk to the Phillies say they're asking all of those questions themselves, and that the answer can be seen in their efforts on the trade market.

The Phillies will likely still look to acquire a right-handed hitter, but it may well be more of a platoon bat off the bench. That could change, obviously, depending on who is available, and it would be interesting to see if the Phillies went after Carlos Quentin, if the White Sox really make him available.

The Phillies didn't get Beltran, and they almost certainly won't get Pence. Don't be surprised if they end up with a reliever.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 8:03 pm
 

Brewers like Beltran, but Barmes is more likely

The Brewers have remained on the fringes of the Carlos Beltran talks, with great interest in adding a big-time player but without much left in the minor leagues to offer for him. Brewers people acknowledge that Beltran was always a longshot for them, but they have had scouts watch him during the Mets' last two series.

What's more likely, according to sources, is that the Brewers make a smaller move, and the name to watch now is Astros infielder Clint Barmes.

Barmes could fill in for weak-hitting Yuniesky Betancourt at shortstop, and he could also fill in for struggling Casey McGehee at third base.

The Brewers have also talked to the Dodgers about infielder Jamey Carroll. And they've looked at other outfielders, including Coco Crisp of the A's and Jerry Hairston Jr. of the Nationals.
Posted on: July 24, 2011 1:22 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Beltran derby into final days, Rangers interested

With the Carlos Beltran derby heading into the final days, there were suggestions Sunday that the Phillies' interest has cooled, that the Rangers' interest has picked up and that the Giants are still heavily involved.

Meanwhile, the Mets continue to hold out hope that one team or another will agree to surrender its top prospect in return for Beltran, who is the best hitter on the free-agent market but is also strictly a rental player.

Beltran must approve any trade, and as many others have reported, his preference is to stay in the National League. But one person close to him said Sunday that it's possible that Beltran would approve a deal to the Rangers.

Texas fits some of Beltran's stated criteria, since the Rangers are likely to be in the playoffs and have a real chance of getting to the World Series. Also, the Rangers could offer Beltran regular playing time in the outfield, either by playing Beltran in center field or (more likely) by moving Josh Hamilton back to center.

Earlier this month, the Rangers seemed most focused on adding pitching, either in the rotation or the bullpen. They talked to the Rockies about Ubaldo Jimenez, and discussed relievers with the Padres.

But the Rangers sent a scout in to see Beltran at the end of the Mets' homestand last week, and by Sunday one rival official was suggesting that the Rangers could even be the favorite, because they had more prospects available and also could take on more of Beltran's salary.

The Braves, Red Sox, Pirates and even the Reds have been mentioned in connection with Beltran.

Because Beltran is easily the biggest impact hitter on the market, the Mets can justify asking for the world. What works against them actually getting it is that both the Giants and the Rangers (and the Phillies, for that matter) will very likely make the playoffs with or without a Beltran trade.

For those teams, the question is how much better Beltran would make them in October, and how much that's worth in terms of giving up top prospects.

The Mets are said by sources to have asked for pitcher Zack Wheeler from the Giants. According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, they asked for first Domonic Brown and then Jarred Cosart from the Phillies. It's no surprise that the Phils said no on both. There were also reports that the Mets had asked for Mike Minor from the Braves, and again it's no surprise that the Braves said no.

Posted on: July 20, 2011 7:25 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 8:38 pm
 

Beltran is the big prize on trade market

The Mets aren't interested in trading Jose Reyes, who would have been the best player available on this July's trade market.

They will trade Carlos Beltran, the best hitter available on the market.

"He's the impact guy," said an official of one of the many teams hoping to acquire Beltran.

Beltran, who entered play Wednesday with 14 home runs and 59 RBI in 91 games, is good enough that even teams without a real need in the outfield have sent scouts to see him, just in case. The Rangers had a scout at Citi Field on Wednesday, even though their main focus this month has been on acquiring pitching.

The list of teams that could end up with Beltran remains a long one. The Phillies may be the most aggressive suitor, as Jon Heyman of SI.com has suggested, but the Red Sox, Giants and Braves are all still believed to be in the running. The Phillies and Giants both have had scouts in New York all week, and the Red Sox were in to see Beltran last weekend.

The Tigers and Pirates are also said to have shown interest, but the Tigers' focus continues to be on acquiring a starting pitcher, and it's not clear that Beltran would approve a deal to the Pirates. Beltran has a full no-trade clause in his contract, but it's believed he would agree to go to any of the other contenders.

The Mets are almost certain to deal Beltran, because he will be a free agent at the end of the season and won't be back in 2012, in any case. Also, they wouldn't get any draft picks as compensation when he signs elsewhere, because of a clause in his contract that doesn't allow him to be offered arbitration (and a high salary that probably would have kept them from offering it, anyway).

Because Beltran is the best hitter on the market, the Mets can try to hold out for a big price for Beltran, even though he's a true rental player. They have also suggested to teams that they would be willing to pay some or most of his contract, depending on the players they get in return.


For more trade deadline news, click here.
Posted on: July 11, 2011 8:25 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 8:58 pm
 

Does option hinder K-Rod trade? Maybe not

PHOENIX -- For weeks, the conventional wisdom on Francisco Rodriguez has been that if the Mets trade him, it would be to a team that needs a setup man rather than one that needs a closer.

The thinking was that with K-Rod already 62 percent of the way toward guaranteeing his $17.5 million vesting option for 2012 (he needs 55 games finished, and he has 34 at the All-Star break), no team would want to take a chance on letting him get there.

But here's something to think about, something that might change that conventional wisdom significantly:

K-Rod just changed agents, from Paul Kinzer to Scott Boras. Boras is likely to be less worried about the vesting option and more concerned about positioning Rodriguez as the best closer on this winter's free-agent market (and, in fact, Boras reminded reporters Monday that K-Rod is a closer and should remain one). The best way to position Rodriguez as a closer is to have him close games all year -- and if he does it in a pennant race, so much the better).

But what about that $17.5 million?

Well, it doesn't need to be $17.5 million. K-Rod could potentially (and would consider, according to sources) bargain away that vesting option, perhaps for an increase in the $3.5 million buyout that is already part of his contract.

That way, the Mets could get prospects they need back in a trade (and avoid paying the $17.5 million themselves), the acquiring team would get a quality closer (and not run the risk of spending $17.5 million next year themselves). And K-Rod would get an improved buyout, a chance to better position himself in the free-agent market, and the opportunity to hit the market at 29 years old, rather than at 30.

*****

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters last week that it's "very unlikely" that he'll trade Jose Reyes, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

I'm starting to believe him (especially with Reyes currently on the disabled list), but I'm still not fully convinced. And here's one significant thing to remember when considering whether Reyes will be traded:

When Reyes closed the door on in-season contract negotiations with the Mets, he didn't completely rule out an in-season deal with a team that would trade for him. In fact, sources say, Reyes would be willing to consider such a proposal.

Why would he listen to another team and not the Mets, when he has said that he loves playing in New York and would like to stay with the Mets? Two possible reasons: One, Reyes knows that the Mets are in no financial position now to make him an offer that he would consider accepting, and he doesn't want them to make an offer that would solely help them public relations-wise. Second, were he to talk with another team, it would only be during a brief window once a trade was agreed to, so it wouldn't be nearly as much of a distraction.

*****

Of all the Mets, All-Star Carlos Beltran remains the most likely to be traded, in part because his contract doesn't permit the Mets to offer him salary arbitration at the end of the season. Thus, the Mets would not get any draft-pick compensation when Beltran signs with another team.

The Giants are one team known to be interested in Beltran.




Posted on: May 27, 2011 6:26 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 6:51 pm
 

If 'coverage is good,' then the Mets are winners

NEW YORK -- The owner ripped his players. Then the owner said he was "bleeding cash."

Oh, and then the owner announced that he'd found someone to buy part of the team, someone who would give him some much-needed cash (but not enough cash to make all that much of a difference). And another player got hurt.

You could say it was a crazy week for the Mets, but when they showed up for work Friday, it felt like just another day, just another week.

And maybe that's exactly what makes the Mets what they are. The craziness has become so common that it doesn't even feel like craziness anymore.

The bad news has been so expected that a bit of good news becomes something to joke about.

"We finally got a good report," general manager Sandy Alderson said about pitcher R.A. Dickey. "We must have changed doctors."

The good report? It was that Dickey only has a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot. It was that Dickey may not miss a start (although maybe he will).

"I was expecting something more dire," Alderson said.

Oh, and in the meantime, David Wright and Ike Davis are still on the disabled list, with no return date certain. And in the meantime, the Mets have been outhomered 9-1 in the nine games since Wright went out.

And fans have basically stopped showing up.

Alderson is learning. Just as Jerry Manuel learned.

It was two years ago that Manuel, then the Mets manager, said of a Gary Sheffield injury: "They're calling it cramps -- surgery on Tuesday."

Alderson is learning that weeks like this just aren't out of the ordinary here.

"Everybody says, 'This is New York -- it's different,'" he said. "I would admit, 'This is New York -- it's different.'"

This isn't Oakland. This isn't San Diego.

At his previous stops, Alderson's week would have been different.

"There would have been a little beach time in there," he said with a grin.

Instead, he's still fielding questions about what owner Fred Wilpon said to The New Yorker.
 
The players are fielding questions, too. A crowd gathered around Carlos Beltran in the Mets clubhouse Friday, even though Beltran had already answered his own Wilpon questions in Chicago.

"What happened, that's in the past," Beltran told the crowd.

He understands already. This is the Mets. This is New York.

It's always like this.

"I just try to keep my head and think about the game," he said. "Of course, there are distractions. But all we can do is concentrate on what's important."

But what is important for the Mets? Is it surviving this season? Is it trading away their players? Is it surviving the crisis of the day?

"We're in the entertainment business," Alderson said. "Coverage is good."

By that standard, then, this was a good week at Citi Field.

Another good week.



 
 
 
 
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