As the 2020 Season approached, the Mets tapped Carlos Beltran as their new Manager.  It was a feel-good story.  Beltran was the best Center Fielder in Mets history.  He ended a sure Hall of Fame career and was slated to lead a team that just missed the playoffs the year before.  The team was populated with young, home-grown emerging stars: deGrom, Alonso, McNeil, Nimmo.  After the tumultuous leadership of an oftentimes in-over-his-head Mickey Callaway, Beltran’s baseball savvy ways seemed destined to put the team over the top in 2020.

Then disaster struck – both for Beltran and for the world.  The Astros sign-stealing scandal cost Beltran his job.  COVID-19 cost the world millions of lives and much more.

The world has since healed from the terrible tragedy of that terrible disease.  And so, too, has Beltran’s reputation within the baseball community been repaired by the passage of time.

This Steve Cohen-led franchise is reconciling with one of its great players and clearly one of its future leaders.  Beltran’s pedigree is undeniable.  He played for the Royals, Astros, Mets, Cardinals, Giants, Yankees and Rangers.  He played winning baseball, including as a 9-time All Star and World Champion with the Astros.  His heady play on the field set him apart from most who played the game before him and those who have played it since.

Beltran’s brilliance on the field reminded many of Willie Mays.  Each had a baseball IQ that was off the charts.  Mays directed his fellow outfielders, including Bobby Bonds, in the correct fielding positions.  When Willie spoke, he commanded the respect of everyone around him.  Similarly, Beltran was an on-the-field leader.  He helped others, including David Wright, with an innovative batting drill where he placed numbers on tennis balls and fired them toward the plate.  He helped develop better batting eyes for teammates who could identify the numbers on the balls as they whizzed by the batting cage home plate.

His future with the Mets is not yet known, but at the age of 45, he can certainly be seen as a Manager-in-waiting.  The Mets current skipper, Buck Showalter, is 66 years old.  Showalter demonstrated extraordinary skill at the helm last year, but his track record with other teams follows a familiar pattern.  His first few years are successful, until his message grows tired and worn.  Then he loses the clubhouse.

Hopefully, his tenure with the Mets will be different.  He oversees a talented but fragile roster.  If things fall into place, Buck may well manage a World Series championship team this year.  Should that come to pass, Showalter could consider a farewell from baseball at the pinnacle of his career.  And that would open the door to Carlos Beltran’s as NY Mets manager.

Established stars like Verlander and Scherzer would welcome a fellow Hall-of-Famer in the dugout.  Striking similarities exist between Lindor and Beltran as far as their on the filed production goes.  They are a natural fit as Manager and on-the-field leader.  But Beltran’s real value comes from what he would bring to future stars like Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio.  The best managers get the most out of their players and with Beltran’s knowledge of the game and his leadership on the field, he would be in the best position to help these emerging stars to get the most out of their talents.  An infield of Alonso (who should be offered an extension as soon as possible), McNeil, Lindor, Baty and Alvarez is the stuff of dreams for Mets fans – where Beltran can help Baty and Alvarez can live up to the potential they showed in the minors.  If Beltran can show Mauricio how to adapt to Left Field, the team will have a young controllable core and established stars under team control for many years.

It should be noted that this entire scenario is made possible by Steve Cohen’s ownership of the team.  It is because of his commitment to making the Mets a first-class organization that the team has been able to acquire new talent to the organization. (I still can’t get over that Justin Verlander is a Met and it’s not all we’re talking about.)  Mets fans rejoiced when the Wilpons sold the team – but no one could have anticipated the overnight change in culture that has occurred since he bought the franchise.  The cost conscious days of Fred and Jeff have been replaced with a new confidence and optimism.  Beltran’s hiring, while unexpected, seems to fit right into place for this new Mets era.

8 comments on “Heir apparent? Mets hire Carlos Beltran to undefined front office position

  • Brian Joura

    Beltran was one of my all-time favorite Mets players.

    Before he was traded, I wrote a column about how I hoped they would re-sign him once he became a free agent at the end of the season.

    Carlos Beltran and the Peppermint Patty plan

    When they traded him to the Giants, I had everyone write a brief about Beltran and assembled a farewell column, something we haven’t done here for any other player.

    Our farewell to Carlos Beltran

    Prior to the 2012 season, while he was still active, I wrote how he was going to the Hall of Fame and would be wearing a Mets hat, something that got a lot of push back:

    Will Carlos Beltran wear Mets hat when elected to Hall of Fame?

    Now that I’ve established my Beltran credibility – it never made sense to me that he was destined to be some great manager. The skills that make a great ballplayer are different from the ones that make a great manager. Ted Williams, perhaps the greatest hitter of all time, had a 273-364 lifetime managerial record. For every All-Star caliber player you can name who made a great manager, I’ll name a dozen scrubs who were better. And you’ll run out of names far earlier than I will.

    It’s certainly a possibility that Beltran becomes a great manager. It’s also possible he becomes the next Eddie Mathews, who after a Hall of Fame career put up a 149-161 record.

    Just to be clear – I’m not opposed to this hiring. If they’re grooming him to be Showalter’s replacement, it would be nice to be thinking a few years ahead. It just bothered me how so many mainstream media types were declaring him to be some slam-dunk managerial hire when he never managed a game at the highest level in his life.

    It just doesn’t work that way.

    • DAEngel1969

      What you say is true – as far as it goes. I think Beltran is different from Williams in that Williams’ greatness actually prevented him from being a good manager. He couldn’t relate to his ballplayers because they were nowhere near as good as he was. One of Beltran’s strengths as a player was his relationships with his teammates.

      • DAEngel1969

        One more thing: Billy Eppler has to think he died and went to heaven. He has almost no budgetary constraints. His only worry is if it doesn’t work out.

  • Metsense

    When they hired Beltran as the manager I wrote that I was surprised that they hired him because he hasn’t any experience as a coach or manager. Until he has experience as a Met coach, and preferably the Mets bench coach, I don’t see him being the Mets heir apparent.

  • David Klein

    Considering he turned down a coaching job for a front office job it seems he no longer wants to manage.

  • Hobie

    Good hire of a smart guy.
    Cheater? Idk, 21st century sign stealing is… sign stealing.
    Story about the 1955 AS game, Deroucher & NYG staff coached the NL. At a pre-game team meeting Leo asks Stanky”Whose signs shall we use?” Stanky says “St Louis” & to the amazement of Musial & others he runs thru the Cardinals routine.
    Now Ex-Lax in water cooler would be cheating.

    • Brian Joura

      I think there’s a huge difference between deciphering a team’s signs made in clear view of everyone and using video surveillance to find something that is only available without technology to the pitcher.

  • Mike W

    Who knows where Beltran will end up. He was a tremendous player and I really like him as well. Imagine what Beltran in his prime would would get paid today.

    I just want him to be the best at his role and help bring more talent to the Mets.

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