Eric Seidman at FanGraphs has a great read up in which he assesses Carlos Beltran’s underlying value to the Mets. In the end, the findings are very clear — offensively and defensively, Carlos Beltran is a terrific baseball player. In fact, from a contractual standpoint, even though he was awarded a 7-year deal worth $119 million following his 2004 season, he’s actually being underpaid (average annual value) in relation to his win value.
Now, in 2004, Scott Boras actually called the Yankees and offered Beltran to them at a discounted price (so, less than the $119 million). However, wary of the luxury tax implications, the team decided to upgrade their pitching staff instead, as they acquired Randy Johnson.
In 2005, Johnson had a good year with the Yankees while Beltran barely produced for the Mets. I’m sure fans would have been disappointed in the Beltran over Johnson decision, if it had occurred (at least in that year). Nonetheless, Beltran would have been the better long-term investment, since he has produced ever since the first year of his mega-contract.
Right now, I think the decision haunts the team. Currently, Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera are both vying for CF. Imagine what the team would have looked like if they had avoided the Johnson move and signed Beltran (and at a discount)? They’d be in a much better place today (offensively and defensively). Hindsight — it’s a killer.
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