Carlos Beltran is going to be traded. Everyone knows that. I don't like it. But if you can get Domonic Brown or Mike Minor or whomever else...yes, please. I mean, Beltran isn't going to be resigned anyway. But allow me to play Shane Victorino's advocate for a moment...why? Why is there zero chance that resigning Beltran could be a smart choice for the Mets? Seriously. Who plays RF next year? How do they contend next year? All the diverse factions of Mets fans are so quick to agree that trading Beltran is the smartest course of action that I haven't even heard a single argument against.
Think of it this way, based on Cot's Baseball Contracts, the Mets have $63 committed in 2012 to Johan Santana, Jason Bay, David Wright, R.A. Dickey and D.J. Carrasco (I think K-Rod's buyout should come off there, as that is now the burden of the Brewers). Let's assume Jose Reyes resigns and for $20m a year. I hope it's less, but that would bring him right up against the Carl Crawford deal. Now, these monster contracts tend to be backloaded, but let's just say if Jose Reyes is a Met next year (and if he's not, ignore everything written below), he'll make $20m. Total: $83m.
Now to that $83m, add Mike Pelfrey, Angel Pagan, Ronny Paulino, Bobby Parnell, and Taylor Bucholz, who are all under team control but can be offerred arbitration. I'd imagine Pagan, Pelfrey and Parnell will all be back, but let's add Paulino and Bucholz to that mix, too, since Bucholz likely won't be able to earn any $ anyway and because the Mets probably won't be able to find a better platoon partner for Josh Thole than Paulino. Based on their current salaries (totaling $9.3m), and bad years for Pelfrey and Bucholz, let's say those guys could be retained for $15m or less. Total: $98m
Then include Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Daniel Murphy, Josh Thole, Dillon Gee, Pedro Beato, Justin Turner, Lucas Duda and add about $4m for them, leaving the Mets with five starters, four relievers, and ten position players at a cost of...Total: $102m.
Based on what Sandy Alderson did this year with Chris Capuano, Chris Young, Bucholz, Beato, Tim Byrdak, Jason Isringhausen, Willie Harris and Scott Hairston, you'd imagine he could then acquire two depth starters, two bench players, and five relievers for an average of $1m each, leaving the Mets at $111, but with no obvious RF save a bunch of internal options like Lucas Duda, Fernando Martinez and Captain Kirk, the latter two of whom are injured. If the Mets were to spend another $10-15m or so in 2012, there's probably nowhere they could use that money to upgrade more than RF (well, except LF, but that's a whole 'nother story) and Beltran will certainly be the best option available in free agency at that position.
Now, I'm not certain this is what the Mets should be doing. Maybe the Mets will get their next RF (like Brown) for Beltran. Maybe they'll get another good starting pitcher (like Mike Minor) allowing them to deal Gee and Duda for an upgrade in RF or something. Maybe Lucas Duda is good enough. Maybe the addition of Johan Santana, and health from Ike Davis and David Wright (plus whatever the Mets get for Beltran) will be enough to make the Mets a real contender even with Lucas Duda in RF. Maybe someone will give Beltran 3 years and $45-50m and this won't even be a concern. Maybe Beltran's health is fluky, the Mets know it, and want no part of him. Maybe, period the Mets think the best thing to do is to get young prospects and bolster a thin farm system.
I agree with some, if not most, of those statements, particularly the notion the Mets need the prospects and Beltran will be too big of a risk going forward. I just think it's interesting that all Mets fans: the Beltran lovers and the Beltran haters, people who want the Mets to be an efficient homegrown organization and people who think "Small Market" Sandy is a scourge upon the Mets ALL agree that trading Beltran is the only sensible thing to do. When an opinion is that widespread, it had to be wrong, right?
No, I agree too. But it's worth mentioning at least that if the Mets plan to contend in 2012, and Beltran were only to be in line for a 1-2 year deal worth between $10-15 a year (a possiblity being you have to be concerned by his injury history), this could be an effective, if risky, way to spend that money.