I keep reading that Sandy Alderson is willing to pay all of the $6 million left on Carlos Beltran’s contract in a trade in order to get a better prospect. I say this is a terrible idea — the Mets should not pay a dime.
The Mets have what so many contenders crave — a power bat who can make a difference in a pennant race. Not only that, he is the top bat available. The Mets are dealing from a position of strength here. One of the teams desiring Beltran (and there are reportedly many) should pay through the nose to get him.
The only way Alderson should pay anything is if a team is offering a top notch, can’t miss prospect along the lines of a Jason Heyward or Freddie Freeman or Mike Stanton or Starlin Castro, but that is unlikely to happen. Alderson should not pay $6 million for a second-rate prospect.
The last time the Mets held a trade deadline fire sale was in 2003, when new GM Jim Duquette dismantled Steve Phillips’ team and traded Roberto Alomar, Jeromy Burnitz and Armando Benitez in separate deals for nine prospects. Then too, the Mets paid their contracts to get better players. The only two names you’ll recognize are Victor Diaz and Royce Ring. That tells you how bad the other seven were, and illustrates how tricky it is to deal for prospects.
Now certainly Beltran is a better player than those three (Alomar was done at that point). But Beltran is a two-month rental, and no team is going to give up an A+ prospect for that. Given the Mets financial issues, they are better off saving the $6 million and getting a marginal prospect back in return rather than spending the money and getting someone else’s overhyped prospect.
Alderson should be playing hardball here. He holds all of the cards. One of these teams will blink and pay the salary AND give up a good prospect. It’s not like the team has to trade Beltran, like it had to get rid of K-Rod and that vesting option. Worse comes to worse, the Mets keep Beltran and pay him to play for the Mets instead of another team. Would that really be so bad?