Carlos Beltran is now a St. Louis Cardinal. Before that he was a San Francisco Giant. Yet he still gets asked about his time with the Mets a lot. And not just recent stuff. Stuff from 2006.
For example, the other night he appeared at a charity event in New York and he was asked about what Mets fans might think about him playing for the Cardinals, who eliminated the Mets in the 2006 NLCS. With the moment of elimination being the Beltran strikeout that, for some reason, a certain segment of Mets fans can’t seem to shake. Beltran’s response:
“Actually, I’m not thinking about the fans, I’m thinking about myself … I just want to have the opportunity to be in the playoffs. What happened in 2006, you have to turn the page. That’s over. We can’t bring 2006 back to 2012. It has been six years. If they want to continue to think about that moment, then that’s their problem. Like I said, I have turned the page. I have really moved on.”
That’s not diplomatic, but I can’t find fault with any of it. I mean really, I would love to meet the sort of Mets fan who actually has issues with Beltran signing with St. Louis. Or who still burns with anger and sorrow over that strikeout in 2006 to the point where it colors one’s impression of the guy’s tenure in New York.
Every team’s fan base has a moment like that they can point to. You don’t forget the moment, but man, at some point you let it go as a personal grudge, don’t you?
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.