Is Carlos Beltran next to be traded?

We’re all thinking it.

With the Mets trading combustible closer Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) on Wednesday to the Milwaukee Brewers in an obvious salary dump, Mets’ fans are probably waiting for the other shoe to drop. The shoe in this case would be Carlos Beltran.

So, are the Mets on the verge of trading their All-Star right fielder?

Naysayers of the K-Rod deal will invariably think a fire sale is imminent. Many critics will think, well, if you trade K-Rod you have no intentions of putting the best possible team on the field.

Not so fast.

Let’s all gather our collective breaths and think about this deal for a second.

The move to trade K-Rod had to happen. K-Rod was on the cusp of having his 2012 $17.5 million vesting option kick in, as he was well on his way to surpassing the 55 games completed threshold. The Mets showed some shrewd business sense in this deal, and come hell or high water, they were going to dump K-Rod on a team. If it was Wednesday or the last day of the trade deadline, a deal was going to be done if there was a buyer. It just so happened they pounced on the first deal Milwaukee offered. The two players to be named in this deal are inconsequential.

I don’t necessarily think the Mets are giving up. The Mets wanted to be free of this contract and not have it hang over the club as a black cloud any longer. Besides, it’s time we see what closer-in-waiting Bobby Parnell can bring to the table (if the Mets go that route).

But enough about K-Rod. Let’s discuss the other most talked about trade chip on the Mets in Beltran.

As it stands, the Mets are 46-45 and 7.5 games out of the Wild Card. They are on the brink of being of being a non-factor in the race for the playoffs. This weekend’s series with the Phillies may loom large if they are to remain a playoff contender or not.

I believe the Mets have every intention to maximize all they can get out of Beltran while seeing if the team can tread enough water until the calvary is supposed to return (Jose Reyes, David Wright and Ike Davis). The hope here is that the Mets can stay within that five games back range. But, if the Mets find themselves 10 or so games back in the next two weeks or so, it could be bye-bye Beltran.

At the end of the day, Sandy Alderson is making the moves that fit his ideologies and long term visions. K-Rod was NEVER part of those plans. Beltran, on the other hand, was always a wait and see project.

Beltran has shown a great deal of game in the final year of his contract. He was named an All-Star after batting .285 on the season to go with 13 home runs and 58 RBI’s (both team highs).

He has been an inspiration to the team with his play this year. Beltran has stayed healthy and has been the backbone to the Mets success this year. But if the Mets just continue to be a so-so .500 team (which many of us figured them to be in the first place), then it may make the most sense to deal Beltran.

However, with the way Terry Collins has managed this team, the Mets have proven that they will  go down swinging. And until it seems hopeless that the season is a lost cause, Beltran will be a part of the Mets. You know, if the Mets had the idea of already throwing in the towel, I think they could have worked out a deal with the Giants (who have shown interest in him) this past weekend.

For now, Beltran is a Met trying to make the playoffs. Let’s hope that can be said again in September.

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