A Carlos Beltran/Mets Reunion?

By Danny Abriano

For the majority of the 2013 season, there have been lots of Mets fans who have been yearning for pending free agent Carlos Beltran to return to the team in 2014.  The possibility of Beltran returning has been viewed as a long-shot by some, but Beltran himself weighed in on the matter yesterday.

Mike Puma of the New York Post spoke with Beltran about the possibility of a reunion with the Mets in 2014, and then sent out a series of tweets on the matter:

Beltran is finishing up the second year of his two year, $26 million dollar deal with St. Louis.  He’ll almost certainly be looking for another two year deal at or above the same average annual value, and the Mets really should be extremely interested in signing him.

Perhaps Beltran was just being nice by leaving the possibility open.  However, if he didn’t want to talk about a potential return to the Mets, he could’ve simply told Puma that he was focused on the Playoffs – not his pending free agency.

Jul 16, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; National League outfielder Carlos Beltran (3) of the St. Louis Cardinals shakes hands with New York Mets manager Terry Collins before the 2013 All Star Game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

If Beltran is indeed open to returning to the Mets, it could be an ideal situation for the club.  The Mets are expected to pursue Shin-Soo Choo, but his price in terms of both guaranteed years and dollars may turn out to be prohibitive.  With that in mind, the Mets may turn to the trade market and/or the second tier free agent outfielders – the group Beltran belongs to (not because of his ability, but due to the length of the contract he’s likely to get).

Beltran will be 37 in 2014, but he’s showed no signs of slowing down offensively.  He had a triple slash of .283/.359/.496 during the regular season, while hitting 24 home runs and 30 doubles.  Additionally, Beltran has been healthy.  Over the last three seasons, he’s played 142, 151, and 145 games respectively.

His declining range in right field is an issue (as Puma notes above), but it’s an issue that would be partially alleviated by having Juan Lagares playing center field next to him in the event Beltran returned to the Mets.

It’s possible that Beltran prefers to head to an American League team, which would give him the opportunity to be DH in the event his knees give out.  It’s also possible that he returns to St. Louis.  However, the presence of top prospect Oscar Taveras seems to make that unlikely.  If Beltran has legitimate interest in returning to the Mets to finish what he started, the Mets should be all over it.

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