With baseball’s Winter Meetings in full swing, The Cubs can celebrate the acquisition of 1B Carlos Pena, the Yankees can attempt to mend fences with their pissed-off Captain, and the New York Mets…can segue from such high profile signings as D.J. Carassco and Ronnie Paulino to talk of trading the best center fielder in club history.  From Newsday’s David Lennon :

One Mets official characterized a potential trade as a longshot in the early hours Wednesday morning. But comments made by general manager Sandy Alderson earlier in the afternoon suggested that he would consider eating part of Carlos Beltran™s $18.5-million salary for next season if a deal made sense.

The Mets would be expected to assume a large part of that “ if similar money couldn™t be swapped “ but Alderson did suggest in general terms that he isn™t averse to doing so if necessary.

œI think we™re realists, Alderson said. œIf we felt given all of the components of the transaction that it was in our interest, yeah. Eaten money before and prepared to eat it again.

There is another way. The Red Sox could try to convince Daisuke Matsuzaka to waive his own no-trade clause, and with Dice-K owed $20 million over the next two seasons, the money would be nearly a wash. Beltran, who also has a no-trade clause, already has said he would approve a deal under the right circumstances. Given his contentious history with the Mets during the past year, there™s little doubt Beltran would jump at the chance to play for the Red Sox, even if it meant part-time DH duties and perhaps switching to a corner outfield spot for the final season of his seven-year, $119-million contract.