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.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.