Our farewell to Carlos Beltran

Here at Mets360 we were all huge fans of Carlos Beltran and we thought he deserved a special send off. I asked everyone to chime in with their thoughts and here’s what he meant to us.

Charlie HangleyMeet the (new) Mets, meet the (new) Mets…

That’s what I was singing in December 2004, when Carlos Beltran hitched his wagon to this star-crossed franchise, and he vowed to lead them in “a new direction: the direction of ‘winning.’” Hard on the heels of the signing of Pedro Martinez, I could not believe this was the Mets – the pinchpenny, meek, wouldn’t-harm-a-fly, NYC joke/doormat Mets – spending money and talking big. I had a feeling of “You ARE a real boy, Pinocchio!” Together, Pedro & Carlos gave us fans a voice, relevance, a “swagger” – in the current parlance. It was too quick a seven years, and injuries and one curveball dimmed the excitement, but BOY was that swagger fun…

Mike Koehler – It hardly comes as a surprise, but Carlos Beltran is leaving Queens. A myriad of claims, quotes and hints from anonymous baseball officials during the past two weeks indicated Mets GM Sandy Alderson wouldn’t be able to get a top-level prospect like Zack Wheeler for an aging slugger with bad knees and a contract preventing arbitration offers.

But just who is Wheeler, the 21-year-old pitcher Giants fans vehemently argued would be too much for Beltran? Wheeler, born in Georgia, has spent 2011 in their Class A Advanced affiliate with mediocre numbers. He sports a 3.99 ERA with 98 strike outs and 47 walks in 88 innings. Scouting reports project his fastball – mid 90s – as a plus offering along with a fantastic curveball. He also sports a changeup still demanding a fair amount of work.

Despite pitching just one level under Double A, Wheeler is likely several years away from breaking into the big leagues. When he does, it’s not unlikely he finds success as a front-end starter, although not necessarily an ace with some of his lingering mechanical issues.

Tanya Mercado – I will go on record to say I am a fellow Puerto Rican. With a last name like Mercado, how could I not be? As such, I have never been more proud of a baseball player than I have been with Carlos Beltran with his on and off the field performance. He has exuded all of the characteristics of our people: hard working, proud yet humble, passionate, and energetic. I have watched Beltran make plays in the outfield and there is no other player out there who is as graceful or powerful as he is.

It was entertaining watching him run the bases right on the heels of Jose Reyes. It was fun watching him hit 208 doubles and 149 home runs. Did I mention the 559 RBI’s? Think of what could have been had his knees not given out. Definitely something to think about. He was great with the media always fielding questions about trade rumors and his injuries. He was always a man and never gave an excuse for failing like when he should have slid rather than just go to home plate standing. With his baseball academy in Puerto Rico, he has never forgotten where he came from, giving other young people a chance to enhance their baseball skills while continuing to strive for academic excellence. El no esta con nuestro equipo, pero siempre estara en nuestros corazones. ¡Viva Carlos Beltran!

Doug Parker – Carlos Beltran is not featured on his own rookie card. Back in 1995, Topps got his profile mixed up with light-hitting Juan LeBron, who never made it out of the minors. So Carlos appears on Juan’s rookie card, and vice versa.

And I think this is an apt metaphor for Beltran’s career with the Mets. Much like Kevin McReynolds a generation prior, you never got the sense that the Mets or their fans were quite clear on the overall concept of Carlos Beltran. Heck, when all is said and done, I don’t know if Carlos Beltran was ever clear on the overall concept of Carlos Beltran.

So farewell, Carlos– we hardly knew ye…

Dan Stack – I remember being excited the day the Mets signed Carlos Beltran. The man was coming off a ridiculous postseason run with the Astros. I figured he would be a cornerstone player for years on the Mets and that’s exactly what he was. Make no mistake about it. Beltran was an impact player in his time with the Mets. Despite some peaks and valley’s (particularly his first year with the Mets), Beltran was always a formidable force at the plate. Sure he had some flaws, but no player is without their flaws.

The one thing about Beltran that will define his legacy with me, and with many other Met fans, is the fact that he was misunderstood. Whether it was the called third strike against him that ended the 2006 NLCS or his decision to get knee surgery prior to the 2010 season without the consent of the Mets staff, he hasn’t won over too many fans. However, I will remember him for all the good he did and not the bad. Beltran was the biggest reason the Mets made the 2006 NLCS with his MVP-type season.

So long Carlos, you will be missed!

Denise Winter – While many feel that watching Beltran help the Giants win would be like sticking a knife through their very own heart, others feel that it wouldn’t matter either way. And the truth of the matter is that Beltran will be a rental player for two months. After the season, he is free to go play anywhere he wants, including back to the Mets, if they both so desire.

So why not get the best possible in return for him – no matter where it’s from – while you can? Trading him at this point is not giving up on the season. The season was over a long time ago. Instead, why not wish him well and enjoy his success with a winning team, if that should end up being the case?

Brian Joura – I was one of the people that Mike mentioned above, one who thought that the Mets would be unable to get much more than a “C-level” prospect for Beltran. I was wrong. But I think that people are being a little too excited about Wheeler. Is he a good prospect – absolutely. He’s a top draft pick with a great arm. But he’s also got some serious control issues. This year he has a 4.81 BB/9 which is really not good. J.A. Happ has a 4.81 BB/9 in the majors this year (the worst mark among qualified starters) and he has a 6.12 ERA.

To be fair, Wheeler has made progress with his walks. In 2010 he had a 5.83 BB/9 in his debut season in pro ball. But he needs at least two more years in the minors, with similar-type improvements in his control, before we can think about him being with the Mets. I think he’s a “B-level” prospect.

As for Beltran, I’ve already written a ton about him this year. I’ve been on record as saying he was never appreciated, that he ranks with Darryl Strawberry as the top hitters in production for the Mets in their 50-year history. He had an outstanding half-season for the Mets here in 2011 and I’m rooting like anything for the Peppermint Patty plan to take place.

Thanks for everything Mr. Beltran.

3 comments for “Our farewell to Carlos Beltran

  1. Scott G
    July 28, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Thanks Carlos. Always appreciated Beltran and his talents. He never became a true fan favorite IMO due to his lack of emotion on/off the field. Always felt his CF defence would not be apreciated until he was gone(maybe still) but he will go down as a top 10 all-time Met to me.
    Was hoping for Gary Brown over Wheeler but i’m not complaining. Good Luck Carlos!!

  2. Brian Joura
    July 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks Scott!

    My Spanish is rusty at best, but I think Tanya’s remarks are something like: “He is no longer on our team but he is always in our hearts.”

    Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  3. Metsense
    July 29, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    I will remember Carlos Beltran as the best OF the Mets ever had. Sorry Darryl but Carlos was more consistant, a better baserunner, a better fielder, more selective hitter and a much better team player. He played hurt when he should not have. He gave 100% all the time and his work ethic is evident just by the fact that he is not only on the field in 2011 but an all star. He was a clsss act. Carlos I admire you and wish you the best in SF, go get your ring.

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