A wide-open trade market for Beltran

Updated: July 14, 2011, 9:44 AM ET
By Buster Olney

Before Sandy Alderson closed out his deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, he made one last round of calls to other teams, diligently checking to see which team would give him the best financial deal in the salary dump of Francisco Rodriguez. He would've loved 50 cents on the dollar, but in the end, he wound up getting about 40 cents on the dollar from the Brewers, in order to run out from underneath the onerous $17.5 million contract option that scared everyone.

But the Mets are giving off a very different vibe in their early discussions about Carlos Beltran, according to sources. The Mets believe they have the best available outfielder in a mediocre market for offensive players and are aiming to land a top prospect -- and they have indicated that they will keep the slugger until they get exactly what they want.

It remains to be seen if the Mets' strategy can pay off, or if their early pre-trade deadline stance on Beltran will change. And as they begin to get deeper into discussions with the six or seven teams that have expressed serious interest, a major hurdle will be how much of the money still owed to Beltran -- about $8 million, at this point -- will be paid off by the Mets.