Carlos Beltran “would have to listen” if Mets approached him about trade or move to right field

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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.

Two of 10 players accept $17.8 million qualifying offers

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First baseman José Abreu and starter Jake Odorizzi have accepted their $17.8 million qualifying offers from the White Sox and Twins, respectively, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Reliever Will Smith signed a three-year contract with the Braves ahead of Thursday’s 5 PM ET deadline to accept or reject the qualifying offer.

The remaining seven players — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Josh Donaldson, and Marcell Ozuna — have rejected their qualifying offers, per Passan. They are officially free agents and will have draft pick compensation attached to them, a potential deterrent for some interested teams.

The QO is unlikely to materially affect the fates of Cole, Rendon, and Strasburg, but it could limit the markets for the other four players. Reliever Craig Kimbrel and starter Dallas Keuchel both had draft pick compensation attached to them after the 2018 season and didn’t end up signing until June. It seems unlikely that Wheeler, Bumgarner, Donaldson, and Ozuna would have to wait until June next year to sign but it may take a while for their markets to develop.