- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
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MIAMI -- Carlos Beltran would not rule out accepting a trade to any of the five primary teams in pursuit of him, but the on-the-block Met expressed a strong preference to remain in the National League and in right field.
Beltran said he was uninterested in serving as a designated hitter even twice a week, and noted he is not keen on facing unfamiliar American League pitching.
"Right now, when they approach me about the teams, then I will decide if I would love to go to that place or not," Beltran said after the Mets lost to the Florida Marlins, 5-4, on Sunday. "I made it clear to them that teams that are in contention are the ones that I'm willing to go to.
"Right now, I feel so comfortable with the National League. I've been here seven years. I feel comfortable here. ... It's just seven years that I haven't played in the American League. But let's see. I mean, it's going to be convenient for the organization, for sure, but it also has to be convenient for me. If it's convenient for both, we move forward."
Beltran had full no-trade protection.
ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney has named Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Texas and Boston as the primary suitors.
An MLB source told Olney Monday that the Mets are in the process of gathering information on prospects of teams interested in Beltran and expect to complete that evaluation process by the end of the day Tuesday.
Sources with teams pursuing Beltran indicate they do not expect a deal to be consummated until next weekend, as the 4 p.m. trade deadline approaches next Sunday.
Asked if Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Texas and Boston are all acceptable teams, Beltran said: "Well, those teams are in first place -- almost. The only one that is not in first place is Atlanta, but they're ahead in the wild card. Yeah, if that happens, I would love to be with one of those teams."
Still, Beltran added about his willingness to switch leagues: "I want to make it clear that I would love to play in the outfield. So I'm not going to an American League team to be a DH. That's something I'm not willing to do, and I'm not going to do it, because I feel it's not going to work for me."
That goes for even limited DH use.
"I'm an outfielder," Beltran said. "I feel very comfortable in the outfield."
Beltran volunteered to move from center field to right field in spring training this year with the Mets, because his cranky knees had reduced his range. Beltran sounded lukewarm about moving back to center field as a rental player for the remainder of the season.
"For two months, we can discuss that," he said. "Right now I feel so comfortable in right field and it's working so good for me that I don't want to make any change."
Beltran said he has been able to mostly tune out the chatter involving a looming trade. He has been aided in that effort by having gone through a trade from the Kansas City Royals to the Houston Astros in 2004. That time, he did not have no-trade protection.
"For me, honestly, I don't think about it," Beltran said. "I'm coming to the ballpark every day, I'm playing the game of baseball, so I'm not really thinking about it. Why am I going to think about it when it's something that hasn't happened yet? When it happens, then I deal with the situation."
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.
Carlos Beltran wasn't ruling out a trade, but he made it clear that he'd prefer to stay in the NL and wouldn't want to be used as a designated hitter.