There are many reasons for a major league team to consider making a trade.  The most obvious is if that team is lacking in some particular area, whether it be starting pitching, relief pitching or hitting.  Another reason is to keep up with the competition, whereby that team needs to make a move simply because their closest competitor has recently done the same.  Yet another reason is because sometimes a team just needs to shake up the roster in order to catch some kind of proverbial spark.  Some reasons are more important than others for each particular team.

Every team also needs to ask themselves some very important questions as well.  “Is it worth it to mortgage possible future talent at this stage?”  In other words, is the team actually in contention at the time when a trade is being considered?  Does that team have the assets to bring in the player that they covet?  Is that team willing to add the payroll that the new player is due?

There are so many factors for a general manger to consider when surveying available talent and communicating with other general managers of potential trade partners.

That brings us to our beloved Mets.  The first and most obvious factor is that the Mets share a division with a team that always seems to pull off significant moves, at least over the past three years.  That team is of course the Phillies, which makes our stomachs turn.  From Cliff Lee, to Roy Halladay, to the recent acquisition of Roy Oswalt, the Phils always seem to have what it takes to bring in highly regarded talent at the trade deadline.  The Mets, on the other hand, rarely follow suit, with the obvious exception of Johan Santana in recent years.  As of this posting, the Mets have done absolutely nothing to substantiate their roster.  It could be that they have no interest in adding payroll due to financial constraint, which has been rumored for just over a year now.

Regardless of why the Mets are reluctant to make a move (or why they do not have the “perceived” minor league talent that other teams desire) is irrelevant.  What is relevant is this.  Are the Mets really a contender at this stage?  Do they perceive themselves as one?  If the answer is truly no, then why bother making a trade in the first place?

I often do not give the Mets any credit for good decision making.  Certainly spending as much as they do and annually having a non-competitive team should give my actions credence.  That is another story that I have written about many, many times and does not need to be mentioned for the purposes of this post.

However, if the Mets indeed stand pat after today’s deadline, perhaps they are making the proper move.  Would Brett Myers or Ted Lilly actually improve them enough to beat out the five other teams that are ahead or tied with them for a playoff spot?  This is certainly a valid question that needs to be answered.

The point is this.  If the Mets truly wanted to be competitive in 2010, they wouldn’t have waited for the trade deadline to make it happen.

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His return has been highly anticipated.  Now that Beltran is here, what does it mean to the New York Mets?  I am sure that opinions on this subject vary as greatly as K-Rod’s pitch types.  Even if you have an opinion, do you really feel strongly about it?

Carlos Beltran, Be Gone With Wilpon

I hope the joke is not on us, Carlos.

The Carlos Beltran Paradox has many layers.  Let’s peel them shall we?

For starters, we can state the obvious.  He has been out of the game for almost a calendar year.  Even for a seasoned veteran like Beltran, that is a lot to adjust to.  You just don’t jump into the pool without that initial temperature shock.  Jose Reyes is the obvious example of this, as he struggled mightily upon his return.  There is obviously going to be a hard adjustment period here for Beltran, and this is going to make things murder for Jerry Manuel when he makes out his lineup card each day.  More on this in a moment.

Next, it is important to discuss what kind of player Carlos Beltran is at this point in his career.  Is he the guy that they signed to that $100 million plus mega-deal in 2005?  Not likely, as he has rarely lived up to that status as a Met to date.  So who is he, and what can be realistically expected of him?  Follow me people.  Just a little more patience and we’ll be there.

Certainly, we need to discuss his health. The last we heard before his return is that his knee would never be 100%  from this point forward.  As a matter of fact, his doctor was quoted as saying that if his knee were to worsen at all, then microfracture surgery may be necessary.  This procedure is nothing to sneeze at, and is only prescribed when there is a certain level of cartilage damage in the knee-joint to begin with.  Enough medical jargon, though.  Here is my point.  No one, including his surgeon, has any idea how his knee will hold up.   I don’t blame the Mets in any way for trying to get him here and playing by the way.  After all, it is their money that is being spent here.  They might as well try to get what they can out of him.  If his knee begins to howl, then they gave it a shot, didn’t they? 

Lastly, where and how does he fit in with this team?  The easy decision of predominantly benching Franceour has been made.  However, Angel Pagan does play a mean centerfield, doesn’t he?  It is my assumption that your center fielder needs to cover the most ground out of all of your outfielders.  At least that is what I learned from little league.  I know that the Mets want Beltran to feel comfortable and all, but shouldn’t they field their best defensive team?   Why not play Beltran in right for a while, which leaves your best outfielder to man center as it should be.  If his knee continues to mend, then perhaps make this switch later.

What about where to hit Beltran?  Is he a number four hitter?  Was he ever?  That breaking in period I mentioned only makes batting Beltran cleanup even more silly.  Is he a number two hitter like his days on the Kansas City Royals?  Back then, he had wheels that worked.  I think that it is a safe assumption that Carlos’ burning days are over.  So where do you bat him?  Number five?  Number six?  There is that little thing called ego that might get in the way of those decisions.   

Sheesh, that is a lot to think about for Jerry Manuel.  I am glad that I am not the one making these calls. 

In summary, this subject is quite complex, and a lot to absorb.  Ultimately, Calros Beltran better be worth our effort.