Fourteen years ago the New York Mets made one of their greatest free agent moves in franchise history when they signed All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran. He helped make the team relevant again and shaped the future.
On January 11th, 2005 the New York Mets signed Carlos Beltran to a seven-year, $119 million deal. Beltran, coming off being dealt midseason from the Kansas City Royals to the Houston Astros, was one of the biggest names in free agency that year.
In the previous postseason, Beltran tied Barry Bonds single postseason record with eight home runs which helped lead the Astros to the World Series before being swept by the Chicago White Sox.
Beltran’s first season in New York was a typical Mets signing where he dealt with injuries. The first big one was when he and Mike Cameron both dove for a fly ball which resulted in a literal head-to-head collision. Along with that collision, Beltran dealt with a quadricep injury throughout the year.
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The following season is where Beltran made his name in Mets history both good and bad reasoning. He was a catalyst to bringing the Mets back to the postseason after winning the NL East. He and five other teammates became all-stars this season where he eclipses some of his previous season numbers by the all-star break. Beltran jacked 41 home runs in 2006 which tied a Mets single-season record with Todd Hundley. Beltran also received gold glove and silver slugger honors during the 2006 season to cap off a phenomenal year for the 27-year old from Puerto Rico.
Beltran continued his postseason success with three more home runs in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals but the Mets season ended when he took a called strike three from Adam Wainwright with the winning run on base in Game 7. Beltran received much criticism for that strikeout but people don’t understand that they do not even make it that far without the season he had.
On September 28th, 2008 the Mets played their final game at Shea Stadium with playoff indications on the line. Trailing 2-0, Beltran came to bat in the bottom of the sixth with a runner on and roped a bomb over the left field wall to tie the game. New York ended up losing the game but I was in attendance that day and I can’t remember a time I heard Shea Stadium rock the way it did after Beltran’s blast.
Towards the end of his time with the orange and blue, he began to deal with constant injuries which caused the Mets to trade Beltran to the San Francisco Giants where they acquired some guy named Zack Wheeler. This trade worked out for both sides because at the time the Giants were holding on to a tight lead in the NL West as the Mets season was pretty much all but finished. Beltran helped lead the Giants into the postseason after injuries to Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez.
For the Mets, Wheeler dealt with injury after injury for the first few years in Flushing. Fans were starting to lose patience with him. Wheeler looks to have now turned it around especially after last season.
Years later, Wheeler is now a key piece of this teams rotation to hopefully make a postseason run this season along with Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. This trade is now looking like a steal for the Mets if Wheeler continues where he finished the 2018 season.
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Fourteen years ago, Carlos Beltran came to Flushing and changed the culture in the locker room. He was a six-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner and two-time Silver Slugger winner in his six and a half years in New York. He ranks as a franchise’s all-time great and even with that called strike three Mets fans all loved and respected Beltran in what he did for the team. Him being traded also helped the Mets huge because it brought in a piece of the future in Wheeler so Beltran has helped this team from the moment he came in until the moment he left.