Ending weeks of speculation, OF Carlos Beltran has signed a 7 year, $119 million deal with the New York Mets, as reported this afternoon by Newsday’s Jon Heyman.
The Mets had been the highest bidder going into the day, but agent Scott Boras had been hoping the Yankees would get into the mix. The Yankees surprised the Beltran camp by declining to meet his asking price. Yankees president Randy Levine told Boras in a 6 p.m. phone call that the Yankees were not ready to go to $16 million per year, or $112 million total. Yankees people stayed by their phone, and it is believed they would have gotten more involved if the price dropped into the $100-million range.
George Steinbrenner was in contact with Boras several times throughout the week, and word was that Beltran was very interested in becoming a Yankee. Steinbrenner held a 90-meeting in Tampa Friday to discuss the Beltran situation, and w While his baseball people expressed a concern about Bernie Williams’ diminishing skill in centerfield, his “money men” also had their say.
One person who’s talked to Yankees officials said that the Yankees might have considered re-evaluating things if they were able to make a favorable separation settlement with Jason Giambi. However, that could take until close to spring training, and would be an enormous gamble for Beltran to wait it out when he had other $100-million-plus offers on the table.
The Astros bid where few thought they would go to try to beat the large-market teams that vied for Beltran’s services. It is believed they bid at least $105 million over seven years.
Next up for the Mets, a continued effort to find takers for Mike Piazza and Cliff Floyd (might as well throw Penny Hardaway in while they’re at it), and depending on how successful they are in either endeavor, perhaps a play for Carlos Delgado (said to be mulling an offer from the Rangers).