Beltran: Accepting trade to Red Sox ‘a no brainer’
|07.11.11 at 2:40 pm ET|
PHOENIX — Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran, who will serve as the DH of the National League All-Star team on Tuesday, is emerging as one of the foremost trade targets on this summer’s market. The free-agent-to-be is nearing the end of his landmark seven-year, $119 million deal with the Mets.
With Beltran enjoying a resurgence that has him hitting .285 with a .377 OBP and .880 OPS, along with 13 homers and 58 RBI, and the Red Sox struggling to get production from their right field position, his performance suggests a player capable of upgrading the Sox.
Yet Beltran has a full no-trade clause in his contract (something that is now redundant, anyway, since he is a player with 10 years of service time in the majors and five straight with the same club). And so, he was asked, would he accept a trade to the Red Sox should that be dangled in front of him?
“They’re in first place,” he smiled. “That’s a no-brainer.”
It won’t likely come to that. Both Red Sox sources and executives from other clubs who have talked to the Sox say that Boston won’t have much money to spend this summer in order to upgrade in the middle of the season. With Beltran owed roughly $6 million over the remainder of the year, he would be an unlikely target of the Sox.
The team is more likely to seek either internal solutions (whether from the performance of Josh Reddick or J.D. Drew, or right-handed bats Darnell McDonald or even Yamaico Navarro) or a more modest upgrade, a player who could serve a role as a complementary right-handed bat off the bench.
Even so, the Sox have expressed interest in Beltran at multiple stages of his career, including doing due diligence in talks with the Mets on the outfielder this winter (before signing Carl Crawford to his seven-year, $142 million deal) and even as far back as 2004 when he was with the Royals.
Beltran ended up going to the Astros in a three-way trade and carrying them to the NL Central title and indeed within a game of the World Series against the Red Sox that year. But the Sox made a hard play to acquire him from the Royals before Houston ultimately landed his services. For weeks, Beltran was a constant rumor. It was a challenging time.
“At the beginning, it was a little bit uncomfortable, because everyday I thought maybe today might be the day that I’m traded. But one day I had a conversation with Allard Baird, the general manager,” Beltran recalled, citing the former Royals GM who is now a top Red Sox executive. “He told me, ‘Don’t listen to rumors. If you don’t hear from me, nothing’s going to happen.’ That really took some weight off me, off my shoulders. I didn’t worry anymore about being traded. … That was good for me until that day came that I was going to be traded to Houston.
“It was an experience, at a very young age I was able to go through it. Now, I know that this is something that might happen — me being traded — but you have to be able to deal with it.”
And Beltran is willing to do just that should the Mets decide that they will be better off making a move.
“I have already made it clear to the Mets — and they know — that I’d say yes [to a trade],” Beltran said. “At the same time, right now we’re playing good baseball and we’re contending. So we have to wait. We have to wait and see what happens.”
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