The expectations for Carlos Beltran this year were low. Between the 2009 and 2010 season, Beltran combined for only 612 total plate appearances because of his knees, and he looked particularly average in his limited playing time after returning from surgery last season. Unless the Mets were legitimately contending mid-season, the hope was that Beltran could somehow put together a good enough half-season to draw some trade interest by the deadline.
Before it all began, Beltran went to Terry Collins and said he would move to right field, a move that would help preserve his knees. Although some of the regular noisemakers tried to paint the development as yet another selfish move by Beltran, more rational minds realized that healthier knees would keep Beltran's bat in the lineup, which was necessary whether the Mets were going to make an improbable playoff run or look to flip Beltran in a trade in July.
What Beltran did during the season blew away everyone's expectations. On top of hitting like his old self, he played nearly every day after getting a couple of scheduled days off at the very beginning of the season. In 98 games with the Mets, Beltran hit .289/.391/.513, a triple-slash that rivaled his outstanding production from 2006 through 2008. There weren't many great hitters available on the trade market this summer, and the Mets had one of the top position players at their disposal. In early July, we were treated to a fantastic FanShot: 877-BATS-NOW.
After Francisco Rodriguez was traded in mid-July, it seemed inevitable that Beltran's days in Queens were also numbered. On July 27, the news broke that Beltran was heading to San Francisco. There were reports that Gary Brown was coming back in the deal for Beltran, and there were other reports that the Mets would reeive Zack Wheeler. With the Mets quite clearly out of the wild card race at the time, there was plenty of excitement when it became apparent that it was Wheeler who would join the Mets' farm system.
Considering the expectations at the beginning of the season and the fact that Beltran's contract contains a clause which prevents his team from offering him arbitration - thus preventing draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere - the Mets did very well for themselves. Wheeler joined Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, and the injured Jenrry Mejia atop the minor league pitching ranks, giving the organization and its fans hope for some dominant young pitching in the not-too-distant future.
Following the trade, there was no shortage of words here at Amazin' Avenue about appreciating one of the greatest Mets of all time. It was a bitersweet moment, and Beltran will be missed in a Mets uniform. Looking back at it now, though, the trade was one of the brightest moments of an otherwise subpar Mets season.
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