From $119 million yesterday to $100 million today (or if you believe MSG, $90 million over 6 years). Either way, the lack of state taxes in Texas might still be a factor. From Newsday’s Mark Herrman and Jon Heyman :
The Mets, who initially were expected to take a wait-and-see approach to Beltran, instead took a “Here’s our offer” stand. A contingent led by general manager Omar Minaya and including principal owner Fred Wilpon returned from Puerto Rico yesterday and are proposing a deal worth more than $100 million, a source familiar with the negotiations said.
Another source suggested that the offer was closer to agent Scott Boras’ $112-million asking price than the reported six-year, $96-million deal proposed by the Astros, Beltran’s current team.
Still, the Mets might remain in their customary role as underdog. Although the Yankees have sent mixed signals, baseball officials familiar with the Yankees’ planning said the club still is interested in the young, dynamic, switch-hitting centerfielder, the sort of player George Steinbrenner is known to crave.
The officials downplayed the recent lukewarm tone of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who did not return calls yesterday. While the club has been finishing its lengthy quest to land Randy Johnson, Cashman said repeatedly that the Yankees still have to decide whether they will “be a player” in the Beltran sweepstakes.
One reason why the Yankees are being low-key on the 27-year-old is that they are reluctant to pay so much. The club believes it should not have to pay as much as the Mets would because it has more to offer in terms of tradition and a virtual certainty of being in the postseason.
On the other hand, the Yankees have not written off a Beltran bid. A price tag in excess of $100 million would not seem so harsh for the Yankees in light of other circumstances. Specifically, the team will not have to carry the big contracts of Kevin Brown and Bernie Williams after this year.