Earlier today, at Citi Field, the Mets introduced Carlos Beltran as the 22nd manager in team history.
I’d estimate that about half of the fanbase doesn’t like the move. Hey, that’s fine. To each their own. Joe Girardi would have probably come closest to being a consensus favorite, but even he would have his detractors.
The thing is, a good portion of the people who don’t like the Beltran news have a very silly reason for being against the hire.
He struck out looking almost fifteen years ago.
In his introductory press conference, Beltran mentioned wanting to “rewrite history.”
Carlos Beltran taking an Adam Wainwright curveball has become synonymous with a Met team who failed to meet expectations of National League supremacy. That team inconcievably only reached the postseason once before it was torn down and rebuilt. Beltran being traded for a young starting pitcher was actually the official start of that rebuild process.
Let’s quickly talk about why it’s foolish to blame Carlos Beltran for 2006.
- Carlos Beltran slashed 275/388/594 in 2006, hitting 41 home runs and driving in 116 runs.
- Fred Wilpon considers himself a “schmuck” for signing Beltran, but the deal came on the heels of one of the most prolific postseason performances of all time. (Eight home runs including home runs in five consecutive games for the Houston Astros.)
- As stated above, any talk of Beltran “being afraid of the spotlight,” or “not being clutch” is laughable. But while we’re on the topic, Beltran had a 1.054 OPS in that 2006 NLCS against the Cardinals. He slashed 296/387/667 hit three home runs and stole a base.
- In contrast, David Wright had a slash line of 160/276/320. I’m not blaming David Wright for the 2006 NLCS by the way. A little perspective though.
- In that infamous Game 7, Carlos Beltran scored the Mets’ only run that night. The Mets managed TWO hits off St. Louis’ starter Jeff Suppan in that game. TWO.
I could continue, but at the end of the day, fans have vilified a player for an at-bat in a game in which he scored the only run, in a series in which he hit three home runs, in a season in which he hit 41 home runs. Lunacy.
Hey. The team in which he is about to manage isn’t blameless here. The Mets called his integrity into question regarding his knee surgery. They ran an impressive smear campaign following a missed trip to Walter Reed.
Beltran got over it. Why don’t we?
Now that we’ve taken a quick trip down memory lane, let’s look ahead to the future.
Carlos Beltran has been chosen as the manager of the Mets going forward. If you can’t get over 2006, then nothing I can say or do will change your mind. Let’s tackle the other knock on Beltran that is popping up.
“He has no experience.”
Really? No, seriously. Really???
Carlos Beltran has played in almost 2600 games in his 20 year career. We’re talking about experience here?
The man runs a baseball academy in Puerto Rico! All things considered, I think it’s safe to say he knows the game of baseball.
Many people will ask you to look at the success that first time managers like Alex Cora, Aaron Boone, AJ Hinch, Kevin Cash and Rocco Baldelli have had recently.
Well, I’m not going to do that. The reason why is simple.
Let’s look at a quote from our general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen today.
“When we began this process it was important for all of us and the ownership group and the baseball operations department to feel like we could exhale when we walked into the manager’s office. We didn’t want to inhale in anticipation of the conversations. Instead, we wanted to feel comfortable, welcome and a partnership with the manager.”
In other words? When we walk into the room to give the manager the lineup, we don’t want to hear any back talk.
It’s 2019. The manager of a baseball team is not the head coach of a football team. I’m not saying that the manager isn’t important, but the real heavy lifting is done behind the scenes. So, until we can confidently compare the Mets’ internal infrastructure to the Red Sox, Astros, Yankees and Rays, I’m not going to compare managers.
What I will say, is that if Carlos Beltran can hand in a lineup card correctly, we’re in better shape than we were a year ago.
I’d like to share a quote from a current Met about Carlos Beltran at this time.
Here’s what JD Davis who spent time with Beltran in Houston had to say.
“He helped a lot of those guys in Houston in becoming the players they are today because of his maturity, knowledge of the game, his attitude and work ethic.”
How about the section in R.A Dickey’s book about Carlos Beltran? Dickey details how Beltran would make it a point to engage younger players. He’d go as far as to buy rookie players suits so they’d have something to wear on road trips, along with helping them get acclimated to the league by imparting his knowledge of the game on them.
All those rookie managers we’ve discussed above? Cora, Hinch, Boone, Baldelli etc. I’ll go out on a limb and say that Beltran, the man who may enter the hall of fame wearing a Mets hat, is MORE qualified than the whole list.
Beltran should be the least of our worries. Hey, you wanted Girardi? I get it. He’s a fine manager.
We’re in good hands with Beltran from a baseball standpoint, though. He’ll be a great presence in the locker room, clubhouse and dugout.
The issue at hand is if we’re in good hands with the front office going forward. This off-season will determine how far we go. If we replace Zack Wheeler with Tanner Roark, Joe Girardi isn’t going to save us. John McGraw isn’t going to turn the 2020 version of Brooks Pounders into Dennis Eckersley.
Carlos Beltran is a fine hire.
Let’s see if we can say the same about Brodie Van Wagenen.