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.
In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.
In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.
Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.
If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.
Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.
Upton had another tweet for the occasion: