Carlos Beltran reveals why he declined Yankees to join Mets in 2004

Former Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran
Michael Bennington
Saturday December 2, 2023

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Yankees Boss George Steinbrenner was famous for snatching big players into pinstripes fold. However, the 2004 case of ex-Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran stands as an aberration.

During a recent episode of “Abriendo el Juego,” a well-known podcast originating from the Dominican Republic, Carlos Beltran delved into various subjects. One of the highlights of the conversation was his decision to join the Mets over the Yankees during the 2005 free-agency period. It’s worth noting that the 46-year-old native of Puerto Rico currently serves as a special assistant to David Stearns, the president of baseball operations for the Mets.

He also played for the Yankees from 2014 to 2016.

How the Yankees missed Carlos Beltran in 2005

The former Mets outfielder disclosed that before joining the Mets, he engaged in a personal meeting with Steinbrenner but it didn’t lead to any deal.

Carlos Beltran shared in Spanish that he had a meeting with Steinbrenner, who explained that he was facing challenges with the luxury tax and couldn’t provide the multi-year contract the player was seeking. However, Steinbrenner offered to make Carlos Beltran the highest-paid player in MLB for the current year and suggested renegotiating the terms the following year. Despite Steinbrenner’s proposal, Carlos Beltran mentioned that the Mets had already presented him with a seven-year offer at that point and he went for it.

Having endured years of navigating contract negotiations involving arbitrators and agents, Carlos Beltran, eager for stability, opted to sign a substantial seven-year, $119 million deal with the Mets in January 2005.

This significant signing marked a crucial moment for the former nine-time All-Star. Despite solidifying his status as an icon within the organization, evidenced by ranking fourth in Mets history among hitters with a fWAR of 29.3 though the Mets weren’t his initial preference in free agency.

During an episode of “Abriendo el Juego,” Carlos Beltran mentioned that people had advised him against signing with the Mets, even going so far as to suggest not doing so under any circumstances. However, he decided to embrace the opportunity with them, as they demonstrated their belief in him through a long-term commitment.

Shortly thereafter, Carlos Beltran experienced firsthand what it entailed to play for the Wilpons. He grew displeased with the excessive attention given to their crosstown rivals and the resulting media environment filled with gossip.

carlos-beltran
AP

Carlos Beltran described the experience of attending a private meeting with the manager, general manager, the team owner, and the head of public relations. According to him, the following day, the details discussed in the meeting would appear in the newspapers. Carlos Beltran expressed uncertainty about the source of the leak and questioned the trustworthiness of that circle, emphasizing the difficulty in placing trust under such circumstances.

Carlos Beltran spent a significant portion of seven years as part of the Mets. During this time, he achieved a batting average of .280 with a .869 OPS, registering 374 extra-base hits, which comprised 149 home runs. This home run tally ranks him seventh on the franchise’s all-time list.

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