Carlos Beltran held a conference call this afternoon to discuss the opening of a $6.5 million high school and baseball academy in his native Puerto Rico, but also gave some interesting answers to questions about his future with the Mets.
Beltran made it very clear that he’d like to remain with the Mets and continue to play center field, but said he’d be willing to consider waiving his no-trade clause if presented with the right situation and would also be open to shifting to right field if the team asked him to change positions:
I know that I have the no-trade clause, but if the team is searching or looking to trade a guy, I have to listen. I want to be a Met. I want to finish my career with the Mets. Right now, my mentality is just to come back next year 100 percent to help this team win a championship. But, at the same time, if the organization is looking at different options, I have to be aware. I’m a professional.
Personally, me, feeling the way I feel and looking forward to getting to spring training feeling 100 percent, I just still feel that I can play center field. But if the organization has different things in mind, then we have to talk about that. I’m all for doing whatever is good for the team. I have never been a selfish type of player.
Beltran has one season and $18.5 million remaining on his seven-year, $119 million contract, but can block a trade to all 29 teams. It’s perhaps a moot point anyway, as the Mets would surely have to eat a ton of that money to facilitate any interest. His moving away from center field is a much more likely scenario, as Angel Pagan proved to be a very good defender there this season and right field might be best for Beltran given the 33-year-old’s knee problems.
Terry Francona just won the American League pennant, the Manager of the Year Award and his Cleveland Indians will likely be among the favorites to win it all in 2017. Between that and his 17-year track record as one of the best managers in the business, he will have a job, somewhere, for as long as he wants one.
He said yesterday, however, that his body will likely limit how long he manages:
“It gets harder and harder physically. It really does. It takes me longer to recharge every year . . . I’ve had a lot of surgeries, a lot of health problems. It just takes a toll on you. I love [the game of baseball]. I really do, but I can’t see myself doing something else. But there is going to come a day when I feel like I’m shortchanging the team or the organization. That’s not fair.
“Even now, during batting practice, I’ll come in and get off my feet a little bit. I think everybody understands. But when there comes a day when it gets in the way, I’m going to have to pull back, and it’s not because I don’t love managing. You have to have a certain amount of energy to do this job right.”
Francona experienced some chest pains and had an elevated heart rate that caused him to leave a game early last season. In 2005 a similar episode caused him to miss three games while managing the Red Sox. He also has a history of embolisms and blood clots, some of which have hospitalized him.
With multiple World Series rings there isn’t much more in baseball that Francona can accomplish, but here’s hoping he sticks around and accomplishes a lot more before he trades in his baseball spikes for golf spikes and calls it a career.
A month or so ago it was reported that David Ortiz was going to meet with the Red Sox and NESN to discuss, maybe, spending some time in the broadcast booth in 2017. He’s retired now, of course. Gotta keep busy.
Today we read that, yes, Big Papi may take the mic. Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said that Ortiz may be in the booth on a limited basis, and that Ortiz has talked about wanting to “dip a toe in that water.”
I’m quickly becoming a fan of ex-players who want to, as Kennedy puts it, “dip a toe” in broadcasting as opposed to those who want to make it a full-time job. Former players who become full-time broadcasters tend to start out OK, but eventually burn all of their good anecdotes from their playing days and just become sort of reactionary “back in my day” dudes. There are some exceptions to that of course — guys like John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley have kept it fresh and Tim McCarver never rested on his playing laurels as he forged a long career in the booth — but for any of those guys there are just as many Rick Mannings Bill Schroeders.
The part time guys who dip in and dip out — I’m thinking Pedro Martinez, Alex Rodriguez and even Pete Rose, who did a good job this past fall after a rocky 2015 postseason — tend to be more fresh and irreverent. They really don’t give a crap on some level because it’s not their full time job, and that not giving a crap allows them to say whatever they want. It makes for good TV.
If Papi can hold off on the F-bombs, I imagine he’d be a pretty good commentator. If he can’t, well, at least he’ll be a super entertaining one for the one or two games he gets before getting fired.