Experts that cover the Mets on a daily basis have a strong belief that the eventual return of centerfielder Carlos Beltran is a good problem for the Mets to have. On the basis that the Gold Glover will be up-and-ready to go after the All-Streak break, manager Jerry Manuel will be hit with the age-old question, how do you fit a square peg into a round hole?
Major League Baseball, as we should all know by now, does not allow four outfielders to occupy three outfield positions. Using simple logic, the playing time of one of the four will significantly be reduced.
When healthy, Beltran is as much about producing runs as the next guy. Looking at his career numbers, he’s a bona fide 20-20 player who’s capable of achieving strong offensive output. However, that output has been put on hold recently due to nagging knee injuries that prompted off-season reconstructive surgery. Beltran has been spending more of his playing time off the field than actually on it.
Aside from his .275 batting average, the 2006 season could be looked upon as Beltran’s most productive season at the plate. A combination of forty-one home runs, 116 RBIs, and 127 runs scored, Beltran supplied a hefty dose of firepower for the Mets that year. I apologize to non-Mets fans but I had to rank that season first.
Looking further down the line, you could say that the veteran centerfielder’s five-year stint with the Kansas City Royals by far showcased him more as the power hitter and speedster that he was. From 1998-2004, roughly five full seasons, Beltran averaged 25 home runs, 103 runs batted in, and 109 runs scored. Not to mention, 33 stolen bases. Even more specific, he served up an average of 31 doubles, 9 triples, and 180 hits per season.
With such an impressive resume and the anticipation that Beltran will be performing at or close to one-hundred percent, the Mets coaching staff would be ignorant not to use the perennial slugger on an everyday basis.