Here’s one thing to remember about the Carlos Beltran trade discussions — and maybe the most important thing.
Beltran has the final say.
Specifically, Beltran and his agent, Scott Boras, can wield the outfielder’s full no-trade clause to effectively choose his next team.
If Beltran doesn’t want to go to the American League, as some in baseball suspect, he won’t go to the American League.
Beltran, 34, hasn’t played in the AL since 2004, a season that he started with the Royals and ended with the Astros.
If he went to an AL team such as the Red Sox and struggled with the change in leagues, he would lose momentum entering free agency.
On the other hand, Beltran’s value would soar if he went to a team such as the Phillies and continued mashing the more familiar pitching of the NL.
Other considerations could come into play for Beltran as well.
If he doesn’t want to play for a low-revenue, mid-market team, he won’t go to the Indians or Pirates.
And if he would rather play in a hitter-friendly park than a pitching-friendly environment, he might veto the Giants.
Beltran has not made his intentions known, other than to say that he wants to continue playing the outfield. He could do that with certain AL clubs; the Red Sox, for example, would want him to play in right field.
The Mets are not concerned about obtaining Beltran’s permission for a deal, sources say; GM Sandy Alderson has had at least one conversation with Boras on the subject.
It is not known whether Beltran has given the Mets a formal list of teams he would approve. It also is not known whether he will require compensation — a bonus, contract extension or some other inducement — to waive his no-trade protection.
The bottom line: He can impose any stipulations he wants.
Remember after the 2009 season, when the Blue Jays traded right-hander Roy Halladay to the Phillies? Halladay had a no-trade clause. He wanted to go to Philadelphia. In the end, the Blue Jays made the best deal they could.
Maybe Beltran will be more flexible. Maybe he won’t.
Either way, it’s his call.
— Ken Rosenthal