Carlos Beltran is one of the New York Mets’ most revered greats, but he could have ended up on the other side of town as a free agent in 2005.
Mets: Carlos Beltran Favored Security over Short-Term Payday
According to Manuel Gomez of NJ.com, Beltran went on a popular Dominican podcast and detailed how he was pursued by New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner with a short-term deal that would make him the highest-paid player in the MLB, which he turned down:
“I met with [George] Steinbrenner. He told me, ‘Carlos, I’m in a situation with the luxury tax. I can’t give you the multi-year contract you’re seeking, but I can make you the highest-paid player in MLB this year. Then, next year, we can renegotiate,’” Beltrán said in Spanish. “But the Mets had already made me a seven-year offer.”
Beltran decided to take the long-term deal over a shorter-term contract that would have given him a bigger bump on the front end. At the time of his free agency, Beltran was already a two-time All-Star and coming into his own as a seven-year pro.
The Mets ended up giving him $119 million over those seven years and afforded the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year an opportunity that he would not squander.
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The Mets Got the Best of Beltran While the Yankees Missed Out
Beltran wound up sticking with the Mets for all seven years from 2005-2011. In that span, he made four more All-Star appearances as well as three Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger Awards. Along with David Wright and Jose Reyes, he formed a trio that made it to the NLCS in 2006 and electrified fans in Queens, NY.
The Yankees missed out on the peak of his prime, but both parties wound up benefitting in the end, though the Yankees got the longer end of the stick on the winning side. The Yankees remained contenders and captured their fifth World Series crown in the Derek Jeter era.
Meanwhile, Beltran hit 149 homers behind a .280 batting average with the Mets. He concluded by noting how the Mets were not his first choice in free agency but the long-term security of the deal showed that the franchise had confidence in the player he could become, making it all the more enticing to him to accept.