The Mets traded their closer (along with his $5 million price tag for the rest of the season and at least his $3.5 million buyout for next season) to the Brewers for two players to be named later. It was, essentially, a salary dump for a team in Queens that needed one.
That won't be the case with Carlos Beltran, though, as ESPN's Buster Olney reported Thursday morning that the Mets won't be willing to part ways with the outfielder unless they receive a top prospect in return.
"The Mets believe they have the best available outfielder in a mediocre market for offensive players, and are aiming to land a top prospect — and they have indicated that they will keep the slugger until they get exactly what they want," Olney wrote. "A major hurdle will be how much of the money still owed to Beltran — about $8 million, at this point — will be paid off by the Mets."
Beltran is a free agent-to-be, and he's batting .285 with 13 homers, 58 RBIs and an .880 OPS in 89 games. At 34 years old, he will be motivated to perform in the second half of the season (and perhaps the postseason) in order to earn one last big payday. The Mets know that, so they won't be in a hurry to accept the first offer that comes their way. Olney listed the Red Sox, Giants, Tigers, Indians, Rays and Braves as just some of the potential teams that might be willing to add the switch hitter.
"The Mets have let it be known to other teams: Beltran will cost you, and if you don't want to say yes to our demands, we believe some other team will, and we will wait for that moment," Olney wrote.
Of course, as July 31 draws nearer, and the prospect of paying Beltran's remaining salary becomes more of a possibility for the Mets, the price could (and likely will) go down. For now, though, it looks like any Beltran deal will come closer to the end of the month, as the Mets weigh their options.