Truth is Carlos Beltran never left New York. We know the one-time New York Met was an all-star during his playing days at Shea Stadium signing that lucrative seven-year $119 million dollar deal after the 2004 season.
Monday morning at Citi Field, he said “I can’t wait to rewrite our story with the New York Mets.”
Now the reality of the Carlos Beltran story begins, not as the player but the manager who will begin to guide the Mets in 2020. He now gets that opportunity as the 22nd manager in franchise history and there was never a doubt he was coming home.
Beltran, a nine-time All-Star, World Series champion with the Houston Astros, three-time Gold Glove winner and American League Rookie of the Year, said the Mets were the only team he considered to be a first time manager.
“His familiarity with New York City, his familarity with the Mets, his understanding of how to cope with expectations , adversity and success all factored into it,” said Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen.
Van Wagenen said, Beltran wanted this opportunity. He was the finalist of three, but that first impression was being a players’ manager, Not that his predecessor, Mickey Calalway, wasn’t that type, but Van Wagenen obviously wanted the manager of his choice.
And what he said during the long interview process secured the deal. He desired to be a players’ manager and he will.
But that does not matter now. Carlos Beltran is home. He never left New York, retained his residence here. He learned more working under Yankees GM Brian Cashman the past two years as an adviser.
Cashman was one of many that gave their endorsement to hire Beltran.
“I feel that I have more credibility to motivate the players and be there for them,” he said.”
Today, the way the game has changed, Beltran has those tools to relate in and out of the clubhouse.
Not that Mickey Callaway, who was dismissed after two years, didn’t have that relationship with his teams. Despite what was reported, the manager’s office was always open for communication when Callaway was at the helm.
But the Mets went in another direction and this time they brought a former player home.
Mets fans will eventually forgive Beltran for the last out in 2006 that concluded their season and failed to get the Mets to a World Series. And they should, because those six-and-a-half years wearing Number 15 will eventually get him to the Hall of Fame when the time comes in 2020.
Omar Minaya was a key component in getting this three-year deal with an option for a fourth done. He was always a Carlos Beltran supporter and they kept in contact.
Brodie listened to Minaya, the former GM who signed Beltran in his free agent year. Beltran had another supporter, former Kansas City Royals GM Allard Baird, assistant to Van Wagenen who delivered Beltran to the Major Leagues.
Beltran ended his career as the fifth player to reach both 400 home runs and 300 stolen bases, and just the fourth switch hitter with 400 home runs.
And this from Brodie Van Wagenen, “It was Carlos’ strengths that won the day. His ability to relate to young players, very few people have that ability to do that and walk in a room.”
Yet this could be the most significant move made by Van Wagenen. A year on the job, he did not hire Mickey Callaway two years ago. He wanted his own manager and now he has one that comes from the family.
And if the Beltran hire does not work, Brodie Van Wagenen will have failed again in the eyes of Mets fans who want that commitment to win and play baseball in October.
But for now, the Carlos Beltran era once again begins in New York. The first Latino manager for the franchise and in New York baseball has a lot of work to do beginning Tuesday morning.
A coaching staff and lots of organizational meetings before the first pitch next March are on the agenda. More so the story, as Beltran said, is to win. And he can’t wait to rewrite the story.
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