Believe it or not, outfielder Carlos Beltran isn’t the Mets’ only trade asset. But at the moment, he is dominating the team’s internal and external trade discussions, and not simply because his value is so high.
Beltran’s full no-trade clause likely will force the Mets to secure a deal several days before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. If Beltran rejects Plan A, the team then will need to act quickly and present him with Plan B.
The Mets are aware of Beltran’s preferred destinations and comfortable they will secure his approval, sources say. Some in baseball suspect that Beltran wants to stay in the NL, and he told Newsday that he also will weigh two other considerations — the quality of a team’s pitching staff and his reluctance to serve as a DH.
The Giants, Phillies, Braves are the NL teams showing the strongest interest in Beltran, sources say. The Red Sox, who would use Beltran in right field, also are in the mix. The Rangers like Beltran, but the bullpen is their greater priority.
Most of the Beltran talks thus far qualify as preliminary, sources say. The Mets expect to know more about each team’s intent by Monday, and after that they will start weeding out the suitors.
Once the Mets act on Beltran, they can listen more seriously to offers for some of their other players. The team, however, likely will proceed carefully. Club officials do not want to give up on the season entirely.
The Mets are reluctant to trade reliever Jason Isringhausen, who has value to them as a late-inning reliever and mentor to their younger pitchers. They also are likely to retain catcher Ronny Paulino, who is under club control through 2012, and right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who is down in value and under control through ’13.
The Mets likely will show a greater willingness to move potential free agents such as left-hander Chris Capuano, left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak, outfielder Scott Hairston and utility man Willie Harris.
— Ken Rosenthal