Here is a respite from the rumor mill, the top ten most valuable plate appearances of Carlos Beltran's Mets career, as ranked by WPA. There's some pleasant memories here:
Play: RBI single off Todd Jones in the 8th inning
Game Result: Mets 4, Marlins 3
Beltran had a rocky first year with the Mets but was great in his first two weeks (.884 OPS). He tied the game with a single in the 8th and the Mets took the lead on a Mike Piazza single one batter later. Braden Looper blew the save in the 9th but earned a vulture win after Ramon Castro's walkoff base hit.
Play: Two-run homer off Jonathan Broxton in the 8th inning
Game Result: Mets 3, Dodgers 2
Fernando Tatis put the Mets ahead three batters after Beltran tied it up. Mike Pelfrey pitched great and then went on his mid-summer hot streak.
Play: Bases loaded walk off Jeff Bennett in the 10th inning
Game Result: Mets 4, Braves 3
Sadly, this was one of the better moments of the 2009 season. The walk happened on a 3-2 count and it's possible the pitch was really strike three. Just nine days until 2010.
Play: Solo homer off Ryan Madson in the 16th inning
Game Result: Mets 9, Phillies 8
A sixteen inning, five-and-a-half hours long marathon ended about the best way possible: walkoff homer off Madson. The Mets bullpen gave up just two runs in eleven innings. Those were the days.
Play: RBI single off Kevin Hart in the 9th inning
Game Result: Mets 7, Cubs 6
This was a must-win game, coming one night after the infamous David Wright vs. Bob Howry matchup. Micah Hoffpauir aided this walkoff single with some spotty glovework but not before going 5-5 with two home runs in a career night.
Play: Two-run homer off John Smoltz in the 8th inning
Game Result: Mets 6, Braves 1
Pedro Martinez was spectacular in this one (9 IP, 1 R, 9 K) and a go-ahead two run bomb off Smoltz was all the Mets needed to win. Smoltz struck out fifteen in 7.1 IP.
Play: Two-run homer off Edgar Gonzalez in the 13th inning
Game Result: Mets 5, Diamondbacks 3
Billy Wagner blew the save but Beltran picked his teammate up in extra innings. Willie Randolph would be unemployed just a week later.
Play: Three-run homer off Gary Majewski in the 10th inning
Game Result: Mets 5, Nationals 2
Carlos Baerga tied the game with a two-run homer in the 9th off Roberto Hernandez but Beltran's three-run shot sealed it one inning later. Steve Trachsel tossed six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.
Play: Grand slam off Kevin Gregg in the 9th inning
Game Result: Mets 5, Marlins 4
This put the Mets up three runs heading to the bottom of the 9th, which might as well have been one run given the bullpen at the time. Luis Ayala did what everyone expected him to do: allow two runs and give every Met fan a heart attack after allowing a mammoth foul ball home run which would have given the Marlins a win. Thanks for the memories Luis!
Play: Two-run homer off Jason Isringhausen in the 9th inning
Game Result: Mets 8, Cardinals 7
Many fans call this their favorite regular season game ever and with good reason. I was in attendance and was treated to two tape measure shots from Carlos Delgado (one of which was #400 for his career), two homers from Albert Pujols and a Beltran come-from-behind walkoff.