Archive for the 'Carlos Beltran' Category

Beltran’s Complaint

Poor Carlos Beltran. His feelings are hurt because the Mets treated him poorly during his final couple of years with the team. That’s what Carlos said at his welcome another former Met to the Yankees press conference.

Specifically Carlos was upset with how his right knee was handled, the fact the Mets did not like that he had surgery on his knee without them knowing it, and that he didn’t show up to visit a hospital with other Mets players. He considers these things personal and that is something he can’t tolerate. Taking strike three to end the 2006 post season for the Mets–no problem, going 0-4 in a game, and even dealing with the New York media was no problem. However, the personal stuff really bothered him.

Is he right? Yes, he is but he is not without fault.

Over the years my opinion of Mets management has changed drastically. I used to believe they were decent folks who wanted to win just as much as the fans. That opinion has eroded greatly over time. Look, I know they want to win but their efforts to do so has been drawn into question, especially during the last few years of the Omar Minaya era. The more you read between the lines of those years, the more you begin to realize the misfortunes of the team may have had more to do with the Wilpons then with Minaya.

Carlos Beltran was the best center fielder in Mets history, plain and simple. We might have more affection for Mookie Wilson and Tommy Agee but neither of those players’ numbers can compare to Beltran’s. Some of the things that management said in regards to Beltran were unfair, especially in regard to not visiting a hospital. Beltran did a great deal off the field and represented the Mets well. Sure, the Mets were upset with the last few years of the contract because Beltran missed so many games but to blame him in petty ways was quite unprofessional. And for Fred Wilpon to mock him for not swinging at the Adam Wainwright curve ball from hell is just ridiculous.

Did it ever occur to Fred that Cliff Floyd also struck out before Beltran? Did it ever occur to Fred that after Endy Chevez’s game saving catch, the Mets had a great scoring opportunity but couldn’t score a run if there life depended on it? Did it ever occur to Fred that Aaron Heilman gave up the game winning home run as he so often did during the regular season? Did it ever occur to Fred that if it wasn’t for Beltran, the Mets never reach the NLCS in 2006? Unfortunately Beltran was never appreciated as much as he should have been by the ownership or the fans. Yes, Mets fans are guilty too. Mets fans want their team to sign big contracts. When they have in the past, and a player has struggled as Beltran did his first year, Mets fans waste no time ripping the player. It’s no wonder so many players don’t want to come to Flushing.

So Beltran still feeling the pain from those events with the Mets let New York know about it when he was introduced as the latest former Met to join the Yankees. He follows many including most notably Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Robin Ventura, John Olerud, Ron Swoboda. Ron Swoboda? Yes, even Ron Swoboda donned the pin stripes after his glory days with the Mets. I’m sure there is nothing more than Beltran wants then to stick it to his former team while with the Yankees, a team he claims to have always wanted to play for.

But Beltran needs to hear a bit of rant too. Carlos, the Mets paid you 119 million dollars for seven years. You played about five of those. That contract made you extremely wealthy. Your family, your children and their children should never worry about money again. You could show a little bit of gratitude for a team that helped put you on the national baseball stage, and voted you their greatest center fielder in franchise history. And forget about ever being voted into the Mets Hall of Fame now. I believe you just burned that bridge. And if you don’t play well as a Yankee, do you think Yankee fans are going to extend any more of a courtesy than Mets fans did. Yankee fans left in droves when it was apparent there would be no playoffs in 2013. Don’t kid yourself, Mets fans and Yankees fans are from the same mold.

I wish you luck Carlos, I really do. Except from May 12th to May 16th when you play the Mets. Let’s see if Zach Wheeler can do the same to you as Wainwright once did.

Oh The Irony

Seven years ago, Carlos Beltran was frozen at the plate when an Adam Wainwright curve ball broke about three feet into Yadier Molina’s glove ending the Mets’ season one game shy of getting to their fifth World Series. The Mets came close to the post season for two more seasons but as we know all too well, they have not been back since.

However, the Cardinals have. They won the World Series that year, defeating the Tigers in five games. They made the post season again in 2009, won another World Series in 2011, and made it to the NLCS again in 2012. This year, the Cards are headed to their 19th World Series starting next Wednesday in either Boston or Detroit after defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.

The irony of course is that Carlos Beltran will go to the World Series with of all teams, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Beltran was not as appreciated as he should have been while wearing the orange and blue. His numbers were really quite unbelievable as a Met. In fact, Beltran was voted to the all time best Mets team, a presentation done in 2012, the Mets’ 50th anniversary. The center fielder chosen wasn’t Tommy Agee or Mookie Wilson or Lenny Dystra, it was Beltran and the numbers support the decision.

But unfortunately for Beltran, the moment he is most remembered for is that one at bat in game seven of the 2006 NLCS against the team he now plays for. He had a shot to be the hero, to put the Mets into the fall classic. But even the greatest of ball players fail seven out of ten times, the odds are always against.

To blame Beltran for the Mets failure that night was simply unfair. In fact it was Beltran’s double in the Mets first inning that set up the only run the Mets would score, their last of the season. With two out, David Wright singled Beltran home. Mets led 1-0. But the lead was short lived as the Cardinals came right back in the top of the second. A sacrifice fly scored the tying run and the game stayed 1-1 until the sixth inning when it looked for sure like the Cardinals would take the lead.

With one out, Jim Edmonds walked. Scott Rolen sent a line drive toward the Cardinals bullpen. Endy Chavez, the Mets left fielder made a tremendous catch as he climbed the wall and robbed Rolen of giving St. Louis a two run lead. Chavez throw back to the infield was cutoff by Jose Valentin and his throw to Delgado doubled off Edmonds. After that play, there wasn’t a fan in Shea Stadium that thought the Mets could possible lose that game.

In Mets half of the sixth, they loaded the bases on a one out walk, an error, and an intentional walk. Valentin struck out and the hero of the top of the frame, Chavez, flied out to center ending the Mets’ first scoring threat since the first inning. Yet both Valentin and Chavez were never vilified for not being able to drive in a run in the sixth.

In the top of the ninth with Aaron Heilman pitching, Rolen singled then Molina hit a two run homer. This was a familiar scene as Heilman had given up five home runs in the regular season and one in the division series before the devastating blow by Molina. Again when Mets fans look back on this game it’s not Heilman they remember, its Beltran.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Mets did not go quietly. Valentin and Chavez who could not deliver in the 6th, led off the ninth with back to back singles. The packed house stood on its feet. Cliff Floyd batted for Heilman and struck out. Floyd is still thought of fondly and he failed to get the Mets close or even. Jose Reyes had a fabulous season but he lined out to center for the second out. Runners were still on first and second. Catcher Paul LoDuca worked out a walk to load the bases and that brings us to Beltran.

Omar Minaya put the Mets back on the map when he signed Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran to free agent contracts in the winter of 2005. The latter was a seven year deal worth more than 100 million dollars. The Mets had a nice season in 2005, Mike Piazza’s last as a Met, finishing over .500 for the first time in four seasons. However Beltran had a disappointing first season with the Mets, struggling as many stars do when coming to New York. Minaya added Carlos Delgado and Paul LoDuca for the ’06 season and the Mets took off and ran away with the division.

Beltran had an unbelievable season for the Mets in ’06 tying the Mets single season home run record with 41 plus 38 doubles. He batted in 116 runs, walked 101 times, and scored 127 runs.  He was as productive a player the Mets could have ever asked for. So when the Mets were down to their last out, Beltran is the batter most Mets fans would have wanted up in that situation. But as it turned out, Beltran became the goat for not swinging at a pitch that clearly would have buckled the knees of any superstar batter.

It was never fair, the wrath and jokes made about that fateful at bat. The echos of why didn’t he swing can still be heard echoing in the parking lot of where Shea Stadium once stood. Lost in the memory is the fact the Mets could not score a run after the first inning. They couldn’t do anything in the sixth with the bases loaded and one out. Aaron Heilman once again threw the gopher ball, and that Floyd and Reyes couldn’t get it done in the ninth either.

So as it turned out, the Mets post season ended that night, October 19, 2006. The Mets suffered a miserable collapse in 2007, a not so dramatic one in 2008 then have been south of .500 ever since as the organization endures another rebuild. But at least for Beltran, he finally gets to go to the place that has eluded him his entire career, his first World Series. He had a chance to do it in 2004 with the Astros when he was traded from Kansas City late in the season, but fell short of the Series. His post season was spectacular and his performance is what led to him getting the huge contract from the Mets.

He was in the playoffs last year too, with the Cardinals, a team making a habit of getting there every year. But once again, Beltran fell a series short as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Cardinals in the NLCS.

Finally this season, Beltran gets his chance to shine in late October. And the irony will never be lost on Mets fans that a trip to the World Series which seemed so inevitable seven seasons ago took this long to happen. Well good for him and I will be rooting for the former Met to do well. He was the best center fielder to ever don a Mets uniform.  I just hope his teammate of 2006, the only player still with the Mets from that year, gets his chance some day soon. That of course would be David Wright, a player that Beltran had a great deal of influence on.

Beltran Returns

You may remember him for that famous third strike call in game 7 of the NLCS.  Carlos Beltran returns to Citi Field tonight and whether you loved him or hated him, whether you thought he fit in or did not, he is one of the all time offensive leaders ever for the Mets.

When you consider Beltran only played with the Mets for less than seven years because of injuries, his mark on the team is profound. He does not lead the team in any one offensive career catagory but he is up there with many of the great players in Mets history.

Career numbers with Mets…

Games  17th  839
At Bats  13th 3133
Runs 8th 551  (most runs ever in a season – 127 – 2006)
Hits 13th 878
Singles 17th 504
Doubles 6th 208
Triples 20th 17
Home Runs 6th 149  (tied with most homeruns in a season – 41, 2006 )
RBI 6th 559  (116 in 2006)
Stolen Bases 11th 100
Strike outs 13th 545
Walks 9th 449
Total Bases 10th 1567
Sac Flies 7th 38

Information complied from ultimatemets.com.

How’s That Trade Working Out?

Carlos Beltran began his Giants career on August 28th in Philadelphia. Since then his stats are as follows…

12 games, 46 at bats, 4 runs, 11 hits, 1 double, 2 triples, no home runs, and 2 RBI. And least I forget, one trip to the disabled list for a hurt hand. Beltran was activated last evening and popped out in the 8th inning with a chance to tie the game. The Giants lost to the Padres as Arizona defeated the Nationals and moved 2 games ahead of the Giants.

Not really what the Giants had in mind when they traded for Beltran. San Francisco who have struggled all season for offense assumed Beltran was the bat they needed. So far it has not worked out. But there are still games left and if Beltran can get hot, the trade will be justified for the Giants.

There is no question the Mets miss Beltran’s bat. Since the trade, the Mets are 8-17. Of course the pitching has played a huge part in this total collapse but the Mets are not scoring runs either.

On the other side of the trade, the Mets new pitching phenom prospect is doing…well, ok. Since joining the St. Lucie Mets the fire balling right hander Zach Wheeler is 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 20 innings.  He has struck out 23 batters while walking 5. His whip is 1.25. The numbers look good but Wheeler’s only in advanced A. Quite a ways to go.

Such is the nature of a trade like this. The Mets brain trust knew they would never compete this year. The trade was a no brainer from the Mets perspective. It was clearly about the future. For the Giants, their future is now. They had to role the dice. So far it has come up craps for them.

 

Beltran’s Legacy

Several years back I wrote a piece on Bill Buckner. It always troubled me that Buckner received so much blame for what happened to the Red Sox in 1986. I pointed out how if it was not for Calvin Schiraldi and Bob Stanley, Buckner’s fate would have never been so unfortunate. Bill Buckner was an outstanding ballplayer but forever will be linked to Game 6, the little roller up the line, the one that went behind the bag.

To a lesser extent, certainly not as national, Carlos Beltran may be remembered by Mets fans for one play or should I say a play that did not happen because he did not swing the bat. Of course I am referring to game 7 of the 2006 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs. Beltran took a 3rd strike that ended the Mets season.

If Beltran had swung, perhaps he would have got a base hit to tie the game or maybe a grand slam to send the Mets to their first World Series in 6 years. Maybe he would have popped the ball up or just flat out missed it. We’ll never know. But like Buckner of 20 years earlier, Beltran’s at-bat did not happen in a vacuum. What led to the All Star center fielder being put in that position?

Oliver Perez started game 7 for the Mets (remember him). The Amazin’s got off to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a David Wright single. Perez gave it right back in the second.  But then he and Jeff Suppan locked up in a tight pitcher’s duel. Perez worked in and out of trouble through 5 innings while the Mets went quietly unable to solve Suppan save Wright’s RBI. Then in the sixth, the extraordinary occurred.

With a man on first and one out, Scott Rolen launched a Perez pitch deep into the night. Left fielder Endy Chavez made like Spiderman has he leaped and made one of the greatest catches in baseball history to rob the Cardinals of a 2 run lead. Not only was the catch outstanding, Chavez fired the ball back to the infield where Jim Edmonds was doubled off first to end the inning. If that play was not a momentum changer than perhaps the Mets season would truly be over.

The first occurrence of why you cannot completely blame Beltran came in the bottom of the sixth. With the sellout crowd at Shea still buzzing from the amazing Chavez catch, the Mets loaded the bases on a walk to Wright, an error allowing Carlos Delgado to reach base, and an intentional walk to Shawn Green. No one at Shea or watching on TV in the tri-state area thought the Mets would not score at least a run in that inning. But in fact they did not. Jose Valentin struck out and the top half of the inning’s hero Endy Chavez with a chance at Met immortality flew out to end the inning. The score remained tied 1-1. As much as Chavez saved the game in the top of the sixth, he did not come through when needed in the bottom half.

The score stayed the same until the top of the 9th inning. Aaron Heilman had come into the game in the eighth and retired the Cardinals without incident. In fact after two were out, Manager Willie Randolph had Albert Pujols walked intentionally wanting no part of the slugger.

After the Mets went quietly in the 8th, the Cardinals struck in the 9th. With one out Scott Rolen singled. Then up came light hitting catcher Yadier Molina. Pitcher Aaron Heilman gave up lots of home runs in his Met career. Heilman was a pitcher with great potential but poor consistency. Maybe it was a lack of concentration or a mechanical failure. The ball he served up to Molina will rank with one of the darker moments in Mets history, right up their with Mike Scioscia from 1988. Molina hit a hanging slider that this time was out of the reach of Endy Chavez. It landed in the Cardinals bullpen giving them a 3-1 lead going to the bottom of the ninth with the 2006 National League pennant on the line.

Valentin and Chavez singled to lead off the ninth. If only these two could had done the same in the sixth with the bases loaded. Cliff Floyd, perhaps the heart and soul of the ’06 Mets, came up next. With the crowd on their feet knowing Floyd could end the season in grand fashion (he had hit only 11 in ’06), he was called out on strikes for the first out (he didn’t swing either). Jose Reyes lined a bullet to center but it was caught. If that ball was to the left or right, the Mets tie the game. Now with two outs, catcher Paul LoDuca walked. With the bases loaded up came Carlos Beltran. This is the spot the Mets paid all that money for. A hit ties the game. A ball in the gap could win the game. But credit reliever Adam Wainwright who through about the toughest curve ball ever seen in a post season game. Carlos froze as the Mets season ended.

Aaron Heilman, Jose Valentin, Endy Chavez, and Cliff Floyd were as much to blame for that gut wrenching loss as Carlos Beltran. But none of the aforementioned players signed a 117 million dollar 7 year contract just two years before. None of them were the all star that Beltran was. None of them had the post season pedigree that Beltran used to earn his Mets contract in the first place. Add to that, Beltran was the last man standing and he will forever be recognized to Mets fans by that moment, much like Buckner is remembered by Red Sox Nation. But that’s baseball and as Yankee announce John Sterling often says “How can you predict it?”

It would have been so glorious if Beltran had hit one out. Imagine how the scene could have been as his teammates waited for him at home plate for the dog pile. It could have been the greatest moment in Mets history. Instead it became one of many disappointments.

To blame Beltran only is silly. The entire Mets offense went to sleep that night mostly because of outstanding Cardinal pitching. Beltran, now a San Francisco Giant, is one of the most productive players in Mets history. His seasons of 2006, 2007, and 2008 were off the charts. If you look at his stats in my previous post, it’s hard to blame Carlos for what has happened to the Mets since October 19, 2006.

Here is where Beltran (2005-2011) stands as an all time Met…

Home runs in a season – 1st, 41 tied with Todd Hundley
Home runs all time – 6th, 149
Runs in a season – 1st, 127
Runs all time – 8th, 551
Runs batted in in a season – 4th, 116 tied with David Wright
Runs batted in all time – 6th, 559
Hits in a season – 25th, 172
Hits all time – 13th, 878
Doubles in a season – 7th, 40
Doubles all time – 6th, 208
Stolen bases in a season -  43rd, 25
Stolen bases all time – 11th, 100
Walks in a season – 5th, 95
Walks all time – 9th, 449
Total bases in a season – 15th, 303
Total bases all time – 10th, 1567
Slugging percentage – 8th, 500

Considering Beltran played just 6 and 2/3 seasons with the Mets and was out with injury for the equivalent of one year, these numbers are outstanding. Beltran was the feather in former GM Omar Minaya’s cap. Beltran earned every bit of his salary. In the short term, there is no question Beltran’s presence on and off the field will be missed.

Yesterday’s  deal was a good one for the Mets. GM Sandy Alderson got his man, a young stud of a pitcher who could be making a difference in a couple of years. The Mets had no plans to resign Beltran, not with his age and balky knees that could cause problems in the future. It was time to move on for he and the Mets. The rebuilding continues.

Thanks to http://www.ultimatemets.com/ for the statistical information.

One of the Most Productive Mets of All Time

Carlos Beltran’s offensive numbers while with a Met (2005-2011)…

Regular season

All Star Games…

2006 Post Season