With the Major League Baseball trade deadline Sunday, July 31, 2011, many expect the New York Mets to trade outfielder Carlos Beltran, to either the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, or Atlanta Braves. If Beltran is traded, how will history look upon his career with the New York Mets?
When Carlos Beltran signed a seven-year, $119 million contract with the New York Mets in January 2005, it was a symbol that the New York Mets would be contenders again. They had also signed Pedro Martinez in the offseason, and the team was poised to make it’s first postseason appearance since a loss in the World Series to crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees, in 2000. They also planned to have their first winning season since an 82-80 record in 2001.
Beltran struggled in his first season with the Mets, hitting .266 with 16 home runs and 78 runs batted in, while playing 151 games. The 83-79 record showed improvement, but not quite what the Mets wanted. Beltran would have the best season of his career in 2006, posting career highs with 41 home runs, 38 doubles, 127 runs scored, 116 runs batted in, and 95 walks, leading the Mets to the National League East title and a 97-65 record.
Unfortunately, for many Mets fans, Carlos Beltran’s tenure with the team will be remembered not by how remarkably he played in 2006. Beltrain’s Mets career will be remembered by many because of how the season ended in 2006, on a called third strike against the St. Louis Cardinals in game seven of the National League Championship Series with the bases loaded and the Mets down 3-1. The sting of that loss haunts Mets fans five years later.
Carlos Beltran would have very good years in 2007 and 2008, with 33 homers and 112 RBI and 27 home runs and 112 runs batted in, respectively, but, like the New York Mets, who went 88-74 and 89-73, Beltran wasn’t able to duplicate the success of 2006.
In 2009, Carlos Beltran would suffer an injury that would forever change his New York Met career. He only played 81 games, and, because of poor information and indecision, Beltran did not have surgery on his injured knee until January 2010, causing Beltran to only play in 64 games that season.
Beltran has rebounded in 2011, hitting .289, with 15 home runs, 65 runs batted in, 30 doubles and an on base percentage of .389. It is these numbers, combined with his solid defense and leadership, that has so many baseball teams interested in his services. Beltran will fill a need for a team for the rest of the season, and perhaps win the championship that eluded him in New York.