Carlos Beltran trade comes with a catch

Updated: July 19, 2011, 10:42 AM ET
By Buster Olney

The Mets are right to feel that Carlos Beltran is the best available hitter on the trade market, considering his experience, and so it's understandable why they're telling other teams that they'd like a top prospect in return for him; as reported here on Sunday, they have indicated to other teams a willingness to eat a lot of the money owed to Beltran to get the kind of prospect they'd like.

But the general managers of rival teams believe that Beltran's value is significantly less than what the Mets are indicating, because there is not a consolation prize attached to the outfielder after he becomes a free agent.

When Scott Boras, his agent, negotiated Beltran's contract with the Mets in the winter of 2004-05, he asked for and received a stipulation that there would be no draft picks tied to Beltran as he became a free agent at the end of his contract; this way, his attractiveness as a free agent wouldn't be diminished by his attachment to compensation, as it has for players like Juan Cruz and Jason Varitek in recent seasons.