To Sign Carlos Beltran, or Not to Be? That is the Question.

Posted: November 14, 2011 by ndbohlen in Mets, MLB, Opinion, Red Sox
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Nick: The Red Sox are reportedly interested in potentially signing Carlos Beltran as their next right fielder. As a Mets fan, what’s your take on Beltran?

I’m afraid I’m going to regret thinking this is a good idea, and I’m turning to you to talk me out of this. Or do the kind thing and just help along my delusions as a desperate fan looking for some sort of positive sign for the 2012 season so I can stop dwelling on what would be the worst three minutes of my life if not for Aaron Boone’s home run to end Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS or the motherfucking Helmet Catch.

Just answer me one way or another so I stop blathering on and driving myself deeper into this depressing spiral of horrible Boston sports moments that continue to haunt me.

Mike: It is my clear and present duty to talk you down from the ledge. It’s still worth it Nick. You have plenty to live for. People love you. And I still hate you. Think of your son’s first big league game. Think of the moment you realize you have a daughter and that she’ll never care quite as much as you do about basketball. Think of all the terrible little league games you’ll have to endure without beer because your wife refuses to drive after the game. Wow. Come to think of it, go for it. Jump.

But whatever you do, just don’t jump onto this Beltran bandwagon.

Before I get to the why of it all, I would first like to say that I witnessed Carlos Beltran’s last game at Shea Stadium (Citifield is another stupid corporate stadium name. I’m calling it Shea). Every fan was well aware of what was coming, so when he came up to bat (in the eighth if I remember correctly) the crowd rose to its feet and applauded for every pitch that came his way. The only other really important sports game that I attended was David Wells’ perfect game. But, whereas I had to turn to my dad in the 6th inning and ask, “Dad, has anyone been on base?” I knew perfectly (tehehe) well (s) what was happening when Beltran stepped on to the on-deck circle.

Wow, I just realized my two solid baseball memories are of watching a Yankees perfect game and of watching one of my favorite Mets leave the club. Make room for me on that ledge.

Nick: Thanks for the pep talk, Michael. You really drove your point home about how much I had to live for when you stepped up to the edge of the cliff and started muttering angrily to yourself before breaking down. Through your stream of tears, I think I was able to discern you mouthing, “Why, Oliver Perez, why?!”

I thought I would be totally against signing Beltran, considering I just finalized the paperwork on my drawn-out divorce from Nancy Drew (which, as it turns out, is less of a mystery series and more of a horror story). I thought I would be afraid of probable injuries and inking a big, lucrative contract that gets no results (also known as “the Carl Crawford”).

But I think I’m starting to talk myself into seeing Beltran with the BoSox.  For one, sources say (for whatever that is worth) that it would be a two-year deal, which isn’t too big a commitment. Second, he aligns much better with the Red Sox philosophy of drawing walks and working counts. Third, I am completely seduced by his raw talent and rare combo of power and speed (not so much the speed anymore, but he still makes like a sorority girl and shows some flashes).

Mike: So this is the first big move that Cherington would like to make? Maybe he’s trying to show off by signing an outfielder that’s actually worth the money he earns. Here’s why Beltran is a good idea:

He has a .857 career OPS, which he outperformed last year at .910 after missing practically all of the 2010 season with a knee injury. Nobody in New York thought he was healthy enough to play more than every third game for the Mets, but he actually started in two more games as a Met than their starting second baseman, Ruben Tejada. When healthy, Beltran is a playing machine. In 2008, he played all but one game. He holds the Mets club record for most runs scored in a single season with 127 (2006) as well as the club record for home runs in a single season with 41 (2006) – he also hit 26 of those on the road. In other words, he can make home field advantage appear pointless.

Oh, and he’s a six-time all-star.

But…

He’s 34 and recently suffered a knee-injury that took away most if not all of his speed. He still plays in the outfield, but can’t get to fly balls that he used to track down with ease in center field.

Yet again, the Red Sox pay David Ortiz to sit on their bench and swing a bat three times a game… they can make room for one more immobile player.

Nick: I understand the injury concerns with Beltran. After Drew, trust me, I know all about injury-prone right fielders.

Mike: Dude, I never said that Beltran was injury-prone. Far from it. He just had one really freaking bad injury that seemed to overshadow his years of playing well over 120 games.

Nick: Fair point. But that doesn’t change the fact that he’s old and on the backside of his career. Hence injury-prone (at least in my mind).

But the unfortunate alternative for the Red Sox is to start Josh Reddick (who I love, but wasn’t anything special) or Ryan Kalish (who played significant time in 2010 but really isn’t ready for the big leagues, especially after missing most of 2011 with a bulging disc in his neck that required surgery). Then they would go out and acquire some cheap-o right-handed hitting outfielder like Michael Cuddyer or some other schmuck to platoon with Reddick/Kalish, leaving the middle of the Red Sox order completely exposed with zero protection.

(That’s assuming we re-sign Ortiz – if we don’t sign him or Beltran, just push me off the ledge, I beg you.)

Mike: Yes, he’s a big improvement over Detective Drew (and those other two random guys no one has heard of outside of Beantown), but I don’t see the point. The Sox had the most hits and runs scored, and were third in home runs – they have much bigger problems than their bats.

You’re not deluded in thinking that Carlos Beltran is a great player. Because he is. Without a doubt. But you are completely drinking the Red Sox Kool-Aid — getting another hitter will do nothing for the already stacked Sox line-up. In the field, Beltran will do little more than make balls hit up the first base line passed Adrian Gonzalez look like they’re attacking the Alamo. Anyway, Beltran said back in July that he didn’t want to play for an AL team. He likes the dominance he currently holds over NL pitchers. He’d be wise to stick with what he knows instead of trying to adapt and conquer at the end of his career.

I think the Red Sox should look to bring in a new pitcher with a strong work ethic and even stronger pitching talent. Who knows, maybe Detroit is looking to trade Verlander in exchange for an ineffective Japanese pitcher. Hey! You have one of those!

(I would also like to thank you for cutting Michael Cuddyer down a full three pegs. He quickly went from starting right fielder to “you get what you pay for,” cheap-o rent-a-player.)

Nick: I understand that the Red Sox aren’t in desperate need of another big bat for an already stacked line-up. (Ellsbury, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Youkilis, hopefully Ortiz, and maybe Crawford will actually show up this year – hey, you never know.) You don’t think I know that the Red Sox need starters who aren’t named John Lackey or Kyle Weiland? It’s all I think about at night (so much sleep deprivation).

But if you think I shouldn’t support spending for two years of Beltran, should I really be in favor of the Red Sox shelling out $90 million over five or six years for C.J. Wilson (who’s 31, by the way)? (Answer: Hell no. See evidence filed under “Lackey, John.”) Money aside, I don’t want any part of that straight-edged weirdo. (Another strike against him – how is he going to fit into the Red Sox clubhouse if he doesn’t even drink? Riddle me that.) He’s just not that good, getting shelled in the playoffs to the tune of a 1-5 record, a 4.82 ERA, 5 BB/9 innings, and a 1.43 WHIP. Yeah, just what the doctor ordered to fix the Red Sox starting pitching.

Mike: I thought the only criterion was whether you lost or gained weight during the 2011 season. My bad.

Nick: Well, I guess you couldn’t pitch for the Sox. Pity. But, considering Wilson that is supposedly the cream of the crop, there isn’t any starting pitcher on the free agent market who is worth astronomically overpaying for a couple good years up front, only to put up crappy numbers over the back end of the contract. I would maybe be excited if the Red Sox landed Mark Buehrle and his 11 straight years of 200 innings and 3.83 career ERA. Maybe. Realistically, though, the Red Sox are going to go after a number of guys who were injured or underperformed, a la 2009 when the Sox went after Brad Penny and John Smoltz with incentive-laden contracts. Both ended up being released. Am I incredibly excited for them to redeploy this highly successful strategy? Ohhhh, yeahhhhh!

Does that really sound like I’m drinking the Kool-Aid to you?

Mike: Um, yes. You’re a Red Sox fan. You’re all delusional. You thought you weren’t cursed just because you won a couple of World Series? Puh-lease.

Also, you all apparently have a weird thing for oversized guys dressed in red – your pitchers (that pun was for you) gained enough weight to be an entire staff of Kool-Aid Men.

Nick: Okay, fine. I admit it. I’m drinking the Kool-Aid.

Mike: The only other reasons to bring Carlos Beltran to Boston would be to a) piss me off that I need to see him wear yet another jersey before he retires, or b) to teach the shit bags that pitch for Boston how to be part of a team. Even if it’s only a two-year deal, Carlos inked a 7-year, $119 million deal with the Mets. Considering he surpassed any and all expectations last year and performed above his career average, he’ll still come with a big price tag. Don’t you think it’s a hefty price to pay just to piss me off? Well, now that I think back, I guess the Yankees spent $93 million in 2000 just to do this to me.

Nick: Do I want the Red Sox to shell out $15 million per for Beltran? Absolutely not. But as long as it’s a relatively short financial commitment that will come off the books in a couple years, I’m fine with it. I see it much like when the Red Sox signed Adrian Beltre to a one-year, $10 million contract, who gave them a monster season and made it worth every penny.  I think Beltran could do the same.

After all, I am hardly concerned with anything monetary when it comes to the Red Sox and owner John Henry.  The man owns Liverpool (the city AND the soccer club, as far as I know). The Red Sox ownership aren’t mired in some horrific Ponzi scheme scandal that saps the team of any and all resources to pursue free agents. That group only includes your Mets and the Dodgers, who literally can’t try to woo free agents until the sale is completed, which will be months from now…

Considering how crowded our ledge suddenly became, I’m thinking maybe we don’t want to become Dodgers fans after all.

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Comments
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