A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Report: Mets, Beltran Near Agree
NEW YORK, NY
NEW YORK, NY—A few hours after the New York Mets became the presumed frontrunners to outbid the competition for Carlos Beltran, they reportedly became the premier free agent’s new team.
According to a report on Newsday‘s Web site, Beltran and the Mets agreed in principle Sunday morning on a seven-year contract, bringing the offseason’s headlining free agent to Flushing.
The newspaper reported the deal being worth $119 million — which would be $19 million more than offered by the Astros across the same stretch.
Beltran remained on the market past a Saturday midnight deadline to re-sign with the Houston Astros, with whom he spent the final two months of the 2004 season following his acquisition from Kansas City.
When that deadline passed, agent Scott Boras turned his full attention to the Mets and their general manager, Omar Minaya.
The Mets had no comment on the report, other than club spokesman Jay Horwitz telling MLB.com, “Discussions continue between Omar and Scott Boras.”
The Associated Press also reported that the preliminary agreement includes an $11 million signing bonus, but that details on how to structure the salaries for the seven years, including possible deferments, are still being negotiated.
During the tense hours leading up to the deadline faced by the Astros because Beltran had not accepted their offer of arbitration, Boras was said to have been in constant contact with Houston owner Drayton McLane and representatives of the Mets and the Yankees.
In the course of the day, however, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner indicated his unwillingness to match the offer the Mets already had on the table.
Newsday‘s report went so far as to indicate that Beltran would undergo an obligatory physical examination on Monday, and be introduced by his new club as early as Tuesday.
The signing of Beltran would punctuate Minaya’s ambitious, and rewarding, first offseason as Mets general manager.
A month ago, he signed free agent right-hander Pedro Martinez to a four-year contract. Minaya described the former Boston ace as “the best pitcher on the free agent market.”
Now, he has signed the unquestioned No. 1 player on the market. Not only does Beltran bring a full complement of tools to the table, but at 27, he is a talent on the verge of extended superstardom.
While splitting the 2004 season between the Royals and the Astros, Beltran hit .267 with 38 homers and 104 RBIs. He also stole 42 bases in 45 attempts.
Beltran then topped off his breakthrough summer with a spectacular October during Houston’s quest for the World Series, which fell one game short in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against St. Louis.
In 12 postseason games, Beltran hit .435 with eight homers and 14 RBIs. He was also successful on all six stolen base attempts.