Mets Should Be Cautious With Carlos Beltran
The managerial candidacy of Carlos Beltran is an interesting one. Every organization of which he has been a part believes he has the tools necessary to be a good manager. They speak to his mentoring younger players and his intelligence and love of the game. Those skills were part of the reason he was a runner-up to Aaron Boone in the Yankees search for a replacement for Joe Girardi.
We know Beltran brings something to the table as a potential manager, and yet, this is still person with zero managerial or even coaching experience. Beltran was also a player who was at least perceived as uneasy with the press. When you consider Mickey Callaway‘s lack of managerial experience and his not dealing well with the press were two reasons for his downfall, you really have to question why Beltran is the direction this organization wants to go.
Still, if Beltran is the best candidate, he’s the best candidate, and that is the person you should hire. Despite that, there is another reason why the Mets should tread lightly with Beltran’s candidacy.
Starting with the obvious, there is always going to be a portion of the fanbase which is not going to accept him. Despite his arguably having the best season any Mets position player ever had and his hitting three homers in that NLCS, they are always going to blame him for striking out against Adam Wainwright.
There is also his skipping the Walter Reed visit. It does not matter to them Beltran had planned going to Puerto Rico to help set up an academy before the Mets scheduled the visit. It also does not matter he would win the Roberto Clemente Award for this endeavor. It also didn’t matter Beltran attended other visits to not just Walter Reed but also to other veteran hospitals, which did not receive the same publicity. What mattered to him was he missed it this one time.
There are other issues including his knee surgery. The overriding point is there is already an issue with Beltran with many parts of the fanbase, and they are never going to get over it. As we saw with Willie Randolph, a manager many refused to accept due to his Yankee ties, this eventually creates a bit of a toxic environment.
Eventually, there is going to be a slump, and the fans are going to race to boo, call into WFAN, and tweet incessantly demanding his ouster. That level of discontent eventually becomes a story.
Going back to the knee surgery, there is another factor at play here. When you revisit the 2010 knee surgery, it is clear there is a level of mistrust between the Wilpons and Beltran. That mistrust extends further when Fred Wilpon said of Beltran to the New Yorker, “‘We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one series,’” he said, referring to himself. In the course of playing out his seven-year, $119-million contract with the Mets, Beltran, too, has been hobbled by injuries. “’He’s sixty-five to seventy per cent of what he was.'” During that interview, he would make reference to the strikeout.
Time does heal all wounds, and we see that with Beltran not only getting these interviews, but also in his being a serious candidate. While things appear all well and good now, we see the Wilpons and Beltran do not have the best relationship, and if put in a situation where they are forced to deal with each other daily, it could prove to be a toxic mix. That isn’t good for anyone involved, especially the players who will have to navigate through that to go onto the field and play.
In the end, what all of this deals with is the Mets relationship with Beltran. Right now, it is seemingly as good as it ever was, but remember, managers are all eventually fired. When the time does come, the Mets will be firing one of the greatest players to ever wear a Mets uniform.
On that front, Beltran is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2023. Make no mistake, Beltran is going to be a Hall of Famer. The only two questions surrounding him are when and what cap is he going to have on his plaque?
If Beltran is hired as the team’s manager, it all but increases the likelihood he is going into the Hall of Fame as a Met. That matters for a team who only has Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza in the Hall of Fame. Of course, Beltran picking the Mets over the Royals or a blank cap is going to be partially contingent on his still being the Mets manager.
Do the Mets really want to put themselves in the position of undoing all the healing which has occurred to take a complete chance on Beltran? There is really no easy answer to this question. As a result, before the Mets take this next step in the process, they need to make sure they have taken all of these factors into account, and proceed in a fashion which is best for the Mets in not only 2020, but also 2023 and beyond.