The Mets are a franchise currently set on shedding as much payroll as possible and are planning for the future. They just rid themselves of their overpaid closer, Francisco Rodriguez, and could be looking to make a few more moves as they attempted to either free up money for down the road or to make a serious run at re-signing All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes to a contract extension.
While New York doesn't have too many players that would appeal to Atlanta, Carlos Beltran is a very interesting guy who could play a big role in Atlanta. Beltran, who turned 34 earlier this year, is in the final season of a monster 7-year deal worth $119MM. Despite once being arguably the best center fielder in baseball, those days are long gone. Still, though, he's having a fine season in right field and could be a big contributor should Atlanta decide to make a move for him.
We'll take an in-depth look at the potential deal after the jump...
If any deal was to be done, the Mets would have to send over quite a bit of cash to make the trade work financially for Atlanta. Beltran will make approximately $10MM the final two and a half months of the season and the Braves simply don't have that kind of money to pay an aging outfielder. New York just sent $5MM Milwaukee's way to rid themselves of Francisco Rodriguez and they could be looking to do so as well with Beltran.
Financial restrictions aside, Beltran makes a lot of sense for the Braves. He's a switch hitter, having a fine season (.285/.377/.503, 146 wRC+, 3.3 WAR), and is still capable of playing center field on occasion. The outfielder has played well in right field and could fill in at either corner whenever Fredi Gonzalez needed it.
If there's a tough lefty on the mound, Beltran replaces Jason Heyward in right field. If Chipper Jones or Martin Prado need a day off, Beltran plays left field. And if neither Chipper, Prado, nor Heyward need a day off, Beltran either rests or plays center field. He's not going to win any gold gloves out there, but he's still an adequate replacement for a handful of games.
Finally, Beltran wouldn't cost a lot prospect-wise. As a matter of fact, New York might even consider a deal similar to the one they just made with Milwaukee; get a list of several prospects and select a few of them at a date down the road. They wouldn't be able to touch one of our top-prospects, though they could be intrigued by a few of our upper-level pitchers who project to be back-end of the rotation or bullpen guys.
The potential deal makes sense in multiple ways. While nothing "official" has linked the two clubs together, the trade chatter and speculation is going to run wild the next few weeks. Carlos Beltran would help solve Atlanta's outfield problems. He's one of the few outfield targets the club should consider.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Atlanta for complete trade deadline coverage.