Saturday, July 23, 2011
How would Carlos Beltran fit in Texas?
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers have shown interest in Carlos Beltran, one of the major pieces available on the trade market. But with the trade deadline just over a week away, ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin writes that interest has increased. Rubin reports that the Mets have paid closer attention to the Rangers' farm system recently, diverting a scout to Class A Hickory. The Phillies, Giants, Red Sox and Braves are also in the hunt for Beltran's services.
So what would all of this mean? First, Beltran would be a rental for this season. He's in the final year of a seven-year, $119 million deal. He's making $18.5 million this season and would be owed around $6 million for the rest of the season. The Mets are willing to pick up that salary to get prospects. It's in his contract that he can't be offered arbitration, which means the club that obtains him wouldn't have a chance to get draft picks for him. But his high salary makes it prohibitive to offer him arbitration anyway. He has said he does not want to DH and would prefer to be in the National League. He has full no-trade rights in addition to being a 10/5 player.
This season, he's batting .289 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs. The 34-year-old has played right field for the Mets in 2011 after playing center field most of his career.
Let's say the Rangers come up with a deal and Beltran is willing to waive his no-trade. If he were to land in Texas, he could stay in right field. The Rangers could shift Josh Hamilton to center and put Nelson Cruz in left field. Beltran has only played two games in his career in left field. The club has wanted to ease the wear and tear on Hamilton's body by leaving him in left field as often as possible, but maybe since there would be two months left in the season, they'd be willing to leave Hamilton in center for most of the games down the stretch. Endy Chavez and Craig Gentry have done a solid job, but Beltran would be a proven player to add to the lineup on an everyday basis.
Beltran would give the Rangers a veteran bat and one that has had some postseason success. You may remember that Beltran was traded from the Royals to the Astros in 2004 and the belted eight homers in 12 postseason games that season, batting .435. That's how he got the megadeal from the Mets. He had three homers and hit .278 in 10 playoff games with Mets in 2006.
Like with any deal, the Rangers are in the hunt because they've got the prospects to make a trade happen (and likely avoid some of their top-tier prospects depending on the package). The question is how much they'd be willing to give up for another bat for a few months as a rental and if that price changes the closer we get to next weekend's deadline.