A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

How Much Is Carlos Beltran Worth?

Carlos Ivan Beltran was drafted in 1995 2nd in the amateur draft by the Kansas City Royals. He made his major league debut in 1998 and became a full time starter in 1999. In his first full season he hit .293/.337/.454 with 22 homeruns, 108 RBIs, and 27 SBs at the age of 22. He knocked over 20 homeruns and 100 RBIs in 5 of his six seasons and the one that he did not achieve that feat was an injury plagued 2000 season. Beltran has an astounding career stolen base % of 89% in 215 attempts. His walks have steadily raised from 46 in 1999 to 52 in 2001 to 71 in 2002 to 72 in 2003 to 92 in 2004. His stolen bases have raised from 27 in 1999 to 31 in 2001 to 35 in 2002 to 41 in 2003 to 42 in 2004. He batted .267 this season between the two leagues and only .258 in Houston despite moving into a hitter's park. He only hit .224 in Minute Maid Park and actually hit bad when he was home at Kauffman Park with a .227 average. Looking at his three year splits, it is obviously and anomaly but still strange since he hit .305 on the road in 2004. Carlos is also a solid defensive player registering over 10 assist in every year except for 2000 and has committed no more than eight errors in a year. He basically does everything well. He's a five tool guy and will be the object of everyone's affection this off season. However, how much is he worth?

Reports have been out that he is looking for an eight year, $160 million dollar deal and that is a dollar figure that he will most likely not get. Guerrero received a five year $70 million dollar deal which equates to $14 million dollars per year. Now, depending on how you look it at, he is either underpaid, or the market has 'righted' itself after years and years of crazy contracts (see Jeromy Burnitz). If you think that Guerrero is underpaid, then Beltran will most likely get what he deserves with a contract worth between $17 million to $20 million per year. If you think the market has 'righted' itself, then someone will be overpaying for Beltran. You would be hard pressed to find a person that would not agree that Vlad is the better of the two players. Vlad the Impaler has been a dominant player in the majors for years now while Beltran was never considered to be at his level of play.

Miguel Tejada was worth 12 million dollars per year to the Orioles and like Beltran, plays a premium position. Miggie is about one year older, but they will have both been the same age when the signed their mega-contract. Playing in a pitchers park in Oak-town, Tejada topped 30 homeruns three years in a row and missed by three homeruns in 2003. He hit 115, 113, 131, and 106 RBIs in 2000 to 2003 and had an amazing 150 RBIs this year for the Orioles. Tejada is not as sure handed as Beltran, but is by no means a liability in the field and their fielding % is comparable. Miggie is not in the same universe when it comes to the SB department, but is arguably the better hitter of the two however slightly the margin is. I do think Beltran a small edge as the better all-around player than Miggie, but falls somewhere in between Tejada and Vlad.

With the current market and how it took shape last season and how it should follow this season would dictate that Beltran is truly only worth $13 to $14 million when you look at similar signings. Top tier pitching talent is going for $10-$12 million dollars these days for perceived aces and $6-9$ million for second tier starters. As for position players, you are looking at $11-$15 million for the cream of the crop and $7-$10 for the next tier of talent. Carlos Beltran is definitely a star and he is at the age that he is coming into his prime, but he is not worth over $15 million per year in today's value. As good as he has done throughout the playoffs this year, it cannot be ignored that his BA was .267 between the two leagues. He has topped .300 twice and hit over .290 in three of six years as a full time starter. He hit below .273 in the other three years. Batting average has less of a value these days and Beltran has a lot great all around offensive numbers, but when I look at the monster numbers that Vlad had put of over his career and compare that with Beltran's, it is hard to put the two in the same category. Beltran has a great health history and will command more money than anyone on the free agent market this off season, but how much he is worth is up for debate. If he could be snagged and put into a Met uniform for $14 million a year, then great, but I think we all know the chances of that are non-existent. If he gets the money he is looking for and costs $5 to $6 million more per year then he should, is he really a value for your team at that point? The reality is that not everyone can spend like the Yankees on players and field a complete team. That goes for the Mets too. Wilpon's pockets are not as deep as Doubleday’s and the Mets do not make nearly the money that the Yankees do, although the new Mets Network will most likely close that gap.

Someone will be paying for Carlos' service for a long time, but the question is for how much. Would it be worth it for the Mets to try and trump everyone and lay out $18 to $20 million per year and overpay? That may be the only way to get him here. The Cubbies, Astros, Yankees, and possibly the Dodgers will also be vying for his services and have successful teams in place right now. The Mets could be seen as a team in disarray and would have to knock Beltran over with money to get him to Shea. If the Cubs, Mets, Yankees, Astros, and Dodgers all put a contract on the table for $14 million to $15 million, how would you rank them in terms of desirability if you are Beltran? He has no specific ties to the Mets or Queens and they would presumably be at the bottom of the list. The money it would require to get Beltran in a Met uniform really does not make fiscal sense for the Mets when you examine their other needs.

Give me Magglio for right and the extra money towards Clement and I'd be much happier. Magglio is not generating too much hype due to his injury and may be a bargain with an incentive laden deal that reduces the risk for the Mets. Not many teams are going to be putting up the money Magglio was looking for at the beginning of the 2004 season and he’ll have to back off his 5 year $70 million dollar contract demand. Maggs could cost $10 to $12 million per year if he gets lukewarm offers from teams. I'll be putting up my arguments for Magglio and Clement in the coming days since those are the two players that the Mets need to target this off season because they can realistically land them.

The fact is that Cameron is in centerfield and is signed for two more years. Cameron still has value via a trade, but I just cannot see him being moved. I also cannot see moving Cameron from CF or Beltran being OK with playing anywhere other than CF if he came to the Mets. I just do not see Carlos coming to the Mets who have been a soap opera for the past few seasons no matter how much us Met fans would like to see it happen. Also, Beltran can sign with a team that will not have a CF controversy (The Cubs and Corey Patterson would not have a controversy, it’s COREY PATTERSON). It is time to look at someone with a more realistic chance of landing at Shea and better fit with the current team. I do not think the Mets are on Beltran’s radar despite the fact he may be on the Mets radar. I'm not saying the Mets should just pass him and not at least make an honest offer, but you would have to be a pretty good salesman to bring the most desirable free agent this year to the Mets when a handful of successful teams will be trying to woo him with the same money as well.

* * *

  • Kazuo Matsui was in the United States in 2004 with his team struggling to keep their head above water and finishing in 4th place in what was a disappointing season. Back at Kaz's motherland, his old team, the Seibu Lions defeated the Chunichi Dragons in seven games to take home their first Japanese League championship since 1992. In the series Daisuke Matsuzaka came up big for the Lions in game six with the Lions facing elimination to force a game seven. He struck out seven while giving up two runs and six hits over eight innings.

    "We had our backs to the wall and I just tried to pitch with a sense of urgency," said Matsuzaka, who picked up his first Japan Series win. "If they need me, I'm prepared to pitch tomorrow too."

    Umm, seriously, I think the Mets should give this 23 year old kid a nice hard look. I've said it before, and I stand by that still, the Mets can get younger and better while signing him for about $5 to $6 million. It cannot hurt that his one year removed teammate is on the Mets and would provide some comfort in easing into a new team and culture. He pitched huge in the Olympics vs. heavyweight Cuba and pitch well in the Japanese Baseball Championship. He seems to be very composed for a kid his age.

    Tuffy Rhodes, who played for the Cubs in 1994, is a star in the Japanese League these days and clubbed 333 homeruns, which is the most any foreign born player has hit in Japan. When asked who would be the next star in the Majors, he did not even have to think twice.

    When questioned on who he thought might be the next Japanese player to star in the majors, Rhodes quickly replied, "(Daisuke) Matsuzaka. He is the toughest pitcher I have played against in Japan. He throws 96 miles per hour (154 kph). He has a good fastball, slider, curveball and changeup."

    He is respected by his opponents and this was said by one of the opposing pitchers of the championship series:

    "If we beat Matsuzaka, it's like winning two games. But if we lose to him, the pressure on us doubles," said Dragons ace Kenshin Kawakami

    I know people may be skeptical of Japanese pitchers, but many have come over and found success even if it was for a few years. He is regarded as the best pitcher in Japan at the age of 23 and he was dubbed "Boy Wonder" while leading the league in ERA in 2004. This kid seems to have the arm to succeed in the majors and looks to be worth a chance.

  • Wally Backman is on Omar's hit list for managerial candidates. Omar plans to give him an interview as well as Jim Leyland and a decision will be made shortly after the World Series. Who the hell doesn't like the fact that Wally is being brought in?

    However, the D-Backs are not expected to pick a manager until a few days into November. The Mets will presumably have to wait until then to get permission to speak to Wally about the job. That would set the Mets back and we'll be looking at about two more weeks to get a manager named. However, Kris Benson is waiting to see who the manager is before he makes his decision to come back. So with the Mets only having a two week period to work on that deal after the World Series, one has to wonder how long they can wait to name their manager?

  • Some notes from NorthJersey.com:

    Relief pitcher Orber Moreno had surgery on his right shoulder and is expected back for spring training. Pitchers Victor Zambrano and Mike DeJean were activated from the disabled list and returned to the team's roster. And SS Wilson Delgado, OF Gerald Williams and RP Vic Darensbourg were declared minor league free agents.

    Sorry to see you go "Ice", Wilson, & Vic.

    I hope Orber is OK, he's had problems over the years and the Mets need him in the pen in 2005.


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Nicely done.

    - Old Backstop

    5:04 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Using Win Shares as a guide, my guess is that Beltran is probably worth in the upper teens, say $17M to $18M. He is a truly unique talent -- healthier than Vlad, arguably better at a more crucial position, too.

    Using this article as a guide:


    Beltran comes in around $23M for a market-based salary. Given that the market is about 25% lower than historical totals, I think he can (and should) get in the upper teens.

    5:27 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Thanks OB.

    There is no doubt that he is a unique talent. But he is a step below Vlad for me. I think he will get a lot of money and I think the Mets may have more of a value getting a big bat and arm for just a bit over Beltran's price. I'm with you. The dude is gonna get paid.

    6:44 PM


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