Carlos Beltrán

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Carlos Iván Beltrán
(Señor Octubre)

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Biographical Information[edit]

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Carlos Beltrán made nine All-Star teams in a twenty-year major league career. Toiling in anonymity with the Kansas City Royals, his postseason explosion following a deal to the Houston Astros and subsequent stellar work with the New York Mets launched him to stardom. A 2017 World Series champion, Beltrán was named the new manager of the Mets for the 2020 season, only to fall from grace for his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal.

Despite being considered a very good power hitter at the major league level, with twelve 20-homer seasons, Beltran struggled with power in the minor leagues. During the 1995 and 1996 seasons, spent playing for both the GCL Royals and Lansing Lugnuts, Beltran went 222 at-bats without a home run. In fact, at the time of his big league call up in 1998, Beltrán had accumulated only 37 home runs in 1,230 minor league at-bats.

He was married three days before being named 1999 AL Rookie of the Year. Seizing the center field job and skipping Triple A ball, Beltrán batted .293/.337/.454 with 22 home runs, 108 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 35 opportunities. After a sophomore slump and making way for the popular Johnny Damon to roam center, Beltrán returned to form in 2001, batting .300 in two of the next three seasons as his plate discipline improved. I n 2003, he became the first Kansas City Royals player to hit 20 home runs (finishing with 26) and steal 40 bases (finishing with 41) in the same season. He started 2004 hot, winning American League Player of the Month honors for April on the strength of 8 home runs and 19 runs batted in. With free agency looming, the Royals peddled Carlos to the Houston Astros as part of a three team deal in June. A t the time, he was batting .278/.367/.534 with 36 extra base hits (15 home runs), and both 51 runs scored and runs driven in. This performance led to his being voted an American League starting outfielder at the 2004 All-Star Game. However, due to Major League Baseball's bizarre rules and regulations, Beltrán was not allowed to go to the game for the Royals due to the deal or represent them. He was initially left out of the game entirely until he was named to the National League squad to replace an injured Ken Griffey Jr.

Overall in 2004, Beltran finished with a .267/.367/.548 line and 77 extra base hits, with a combined 38 homers, 104 RBI and 121 runs scored. Carlos was the first player in major league history to record 50 RBI in each league during the regular season; Manny Ramirez later followed suit. But Beltrán's star shone even brighter in the postseason. He tied Barry Bonds with 8 home runs in a single postseason, hitting 4 home runs in the NLDS, as the Houston Astros defeated the Atlanta Braves, then slugging another 4 in the first 4 games (including the game winner in Game 4) of a losing effort in the NLCS to the St. Louis Cardinals. Overall, he batted .435 with 21 runs scored and 19 RBI, stealing 6 bases.

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His otherworldly performance earned him a seven year, $119 million pact with the New York Mets prior to the 2005 campaign. Beltrán's numbers took a step back that first season (.266/.330/.414, 16 home runs, 78 RBI) and he was involved in a terrifying collision with Mike Cameron in a game against the San Diego Padres in August. The two outfielders collided head-to-head tracking a fly ball off the bat of Joe Randa, with Cameron missing the remainder of the season with a concussion, loss of vision and two broken cheekbones. Remarkably, Beltrán returned just six days later, scoring twice in a tilt with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Shea Stadium. Prior to the 2006 season, Beltrán was a member of a loaded Puerto Rico squad for the inaugural World Baseball Classic, a squad which finished 5th in the competition. Beltrán's numbers surged that year, tying the Mets single-season home run record of 41 established by Todd Hundley a decade prior while batting .275/.388/.594 and driving in a career best 116 runs. Despite another strong postseason (including a .296/.387/.667 line in the NLCS), Beltrán made the last out of the Met season, unable to pull the trigger on a nasty curveball from Adam Wainwright in Game 7 of the NLCS. He crafted two more terrific seasons in 2007 and 2008, combining for 60 home runs and 224 RBI, as the Mets collapsed down the stretch each year. In 2008, Carlos was the last Met player to hit a home run at Shea, connecting for a 2-run shot off Scott Olsen of the Florida Marlins in the stadium's final game, a 4-2 loss.

Injuries cost Carlos considerable time in 2009, when he was limited to 81 games. Facing old buddy Scott Olsen, now with Washington, he recorded his 1,000th career RBI on April 24. Before 2010, he underwent knee surgery that the Mets tried to claim they did not consent to (in their never ending mismanagement of player injuries) and which kept him out of action until July, costing him all but 64 games. He moved to right field before the 2011 season, the final year of his Met contract, and made a final All-Star appearance in the orange and blue, batting .289/.391/.513 in 98 games before being traded to the San Francisco Giants on July 27, 2011 in return for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. Overall, he played 839 games in New York, batting .280/.369/.500 while hitting 149 homers, scoring 551 runs and driving in 559. Unfortunately, just at the time the Giants most needed his help with the bat to defend their title, Beltrán strained a hamstring on August 7, then missed a number of games before the team relented and placed him on the disabled list. He came back on August 24 and hit his first homer for his new team, off Tim Stauffer of the San Diego Padres, in a 2-1 win. Against Mat Latos of the Pads, he smoked two solo home runs on September 14, reaching 300 for his career. He finished the year hitting a combined .300, with 39 doubles and 22 homers in 142 games, convincingly showing that his health issues were behind him as he re-entered free agency.

On December 22, 2011, Carlos agreed to a two-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals worth $26 million. He had broken relations with his long-time agent, Scott Boras, a couple of months earlier, and that led to Boras filing a grievance to claim 5% of Beltrán's new salary. Arbitrator Shyam Das would rule in favor of Beltrán two years later, explaining that a player should not face penalties for deciding to change his representation. He played right field for the Cardinals in 2012, with Lance Berkman moving to first base to replace the departed Albert Pujols. He made his Cards debut on Opening Day at the Miami Marlins' new ballpark on April 4. He recorded the first hit and scored the first run in the history of Marlins Park, singling in the 1st inning and coming around to score on David Freese's single to put the Cardinals on their way to a 4-1 win. On June 29, he picked up the 2,000th hit of his career. He had another solid season, hitting .269 in 151 games, with 32 doubles and 97 RBI. He also scored 83 runs and made the All-Star team for the 7th time. He then went 1 for 4 and scored a run when the Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves in the Wild Card Game, and went 8 for 18 with 3 doubles and a pair of homers to lead his team to a win over the Washington Nationals in the NLDS. He continued on the same run in the NLCS, going 3 for 7 with 2 doubles and a homer in the first two games against the San Francisco Giants, but had to be removed from the game after the 1st inning of Game 3 on October 17, victim of a knee injury when he grounded into a double play in his first at-bat.

Beltrán played another 145 games with the Cards in 2013, hitting 30 doubles and 24 homers, scoring 79 runs and driving in 84, to go along with a .296 batting average. He tied the great Babe Ruth on the all-time postseason home runs list when he hit a three-run shot off A.J. Burnett in Game 1 of the NLDS on October 3. It was a huge blast, traveling 443 feet into the second deck at Busch Stadium, and sent the Cardinals on their way to a 9-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ruth, of course, had hit all of his postseason homers in the World Series; Beltrán was still a long way behind the 29 postseason homers hit by Manny Ramirez. He passed Ruth in Game 3 of the Series on October 6, hitting his 16th off Mark Melancon in the 8th inning to tie the game at 3-3 at that point (Melancon had allowed just one regular season dinger), although the Pirates went on to win, 5-3. Beltrán finally made his World Series debut in his 16th season when he started in right field in Game 1 against the Boston Red Sox. He made a great catch in the 2nd inning, reaching over the right field fence at Fenway Park to deprive David Ortiz of a grand slam, but injured his ribs on the play and had to leave the game shortly afterwards. He was back in the lineup for Game 2, and, before Game 3, was given the Roberto Clemente Award in recognition of his humanitarian work away from the ballpark. He ended up going 5 for 17 with 3 RBI as the Cardinals were defeated in six games by the Red Sox. A free agent again, he signed with the New York Yankees on December 6 on a three-year deal worth $45 million, stepping into the breach opened when Curtis Granderson moved to the Mets.

Beltrán started 2014 slowly, hitting only .234 in mid-May. One of the reasons was that he was having problems with bone spurs in his right elbow. He took a cortisone shot to relieve the pain, but there was a possibility that season-ending surgery would be required. He played on despite not being one hundred percent but lost about a third of the season to various injuries. He was hitting .236 with 15 homers and 49 RBI in 108 games when personal tragedy struck as well. He took a leave of absence from the team on September 17 after his wife, who was expecting the couple's first boy, had a late miscarriage. When he returned after a few days, it was a bone spur in his right elbow that made him unable to provide much offensive production. He finished the season with a .233 average in 109 games, with 15 homers and 49 RBI. In 2015, he played 133 games, bouncing back to .276 with 34 doubles and 19 homers, driving in 67 runs. He was the team's main right fielder as the Yankees played the Wild Card Game and he went 1 for 4 in the game as New York was shut out by the Houston Astros.

On May 15, 2016, he hit the 400th homer of his career against Zach Duke of the Chicago White Sox, becoming the fourth switch-hitter in history to reach the mark, after Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray and Chipper Jones. He was also the third Puerto Rican to reach the number (after Carlos Delgado and Juan Gonzalez). He was probably the team's best hitter in the first half and was rewarded with a return to the All-Star Game, his first since 2013. On August 1, he was hitting .304 with 22 homers and 64 RBI when he was traded to the Texas Rangers in return for three prospects: Dillon Tate, Nick Green and Erik Swanson. He played 52 games for Texas, hitting .280 with 7 homers and 29 RBI while playing primarily at DH. In total, that gave him a .295 average, 29 homers and 93 RBI. He then went 2 for 11 as the Rangers were swept by the Toronto Blue Jays in the Division Series. He was a free agent again and, on December 3, signed a one-year, $16 million contract to return to Houston. In his 20th season, he was Houston's principal designated hitter in 2017, hitting .231 in 129 games, with 29 doubles, 14 homers and 51 RBI. The Astros won over 100 games and, more than his contribution with the bat, it was his veteran presence on an otherwise very young team that was appreciated: when the Astros made it through the Division Series and League Championship Series to reach the 2017 World Series, he was one of only two players on the team to have ever made it that far, the other being ace Justin Verlander. Evan Gattis DHed for the three games played in Houston, relegating Carlos to a pinch-hitting role, during which he went 0 for 3. Still, the win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games was very sweet, and a perfect cap on an outstanding career: a couple of weeks after the end of the Series, he announced his retirement.

Overall, Carlos appeared in 2,586 games, with a slash line of .279/350/.486, along with 435 home runs, 1,582 runs scored, 1,584 RBI, 1,084 walks and 312 stolen bases. For a time, he had the highest stolen base percentage among players with at least 100 stolen base attempts, although he later fell to second behind Chase Utley, stealing at a clip of 87.7% over his career.

Shortly after Beltrán announced his retirement, his name emerged as a dark horse candidate to manage the Yankees following the firing of Joe Girardi. His ability to connect with young players and his intimate knowledge of the New York environment were seen as positives, possibly outweighing his complete lack of managerial or coaching experience. The job went to another outsider candidate, broadcaster Aaron Boone, and Beltrán was offered a front office job with the team, which he turned down. He explained that he wanted a year's separation from baseball before moving to the next phase of his career. True to his word, one year later, he joined the Yankees' front office as a special adviser to the General Manager. After the 2019 season, his name resurfaced, this time as a candidate to manage the Mets following the firing of Mickey Callaway. While there were other openings to be filled at the time, he told the media that he was only interested in the Mets job. On November 1, he was confirmed as the Mets' manager for 2020.

Before Beltrán could attend his first spring training as the Mets' skipper, however, he was tainted by association in the biggest scandal to hit Major League Baseball in years - the sign-stealing scandal that engulfed the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox and led to Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, manager A.J. Hinch and Red Sox manager Alex Cora all losing their jobs in early 2020 due to incidents dating back to 2017 and 2018. Beltrán was, of course, a member of the Astros in 2017, and was in fact the only player individually named in the investigation report handed over to Commissioner Rob Manfred, which was made public on January 13th. While it seemed he would escape penalties as the Commissioner explained that he was not planning to punish players, his position as Mets manager was badly shaken, and many voices were calling for his dismissal as well, given his leading role in the illegal scheme. Indeed, on January 16th, the Mets decided to part ways with him, making him the third manager to lose his job as a result of the scandal. Information that emerged in the following weeks made it clear that the Mets had made the right move, as it all painted Beltrán as one of the main instigators of the illegal scheme.

His cousin, Reymond Fuentes, made the majors in 2013.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 1999 AL Rookie of the Year Award
  • 1999 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 9-time All-Star (2004-2007, 2009, 2011-2013 & 2016)
  • 3-time NL Gold Glove Winner (2006-2008)
  • 2-time NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2006 & 2007)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 12 (1999, 2001-2004, 2006-2008, 2011-2013 & 2016)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 4 (2004, 2006, 2007 & 2012)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2006)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 8 (1999, 2001-2004 & 2006-2008)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 7 (1999, 2001-2004, 2006 & 2008)
  • Won one World Series with the Houston Astros in 2017


AL Rookie of the Year
1998 1999 2000
Ben Grieve Carlos Beltran Kazuhiro Sasaki


Preceded by
Mickey Callaway
New York Mets Manager
2020
Succeeded by
Luis Rojas

Records Held[edit]

  • Stolen base percentage, career, 88.3

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jack Baer: "Beltran could become managerial trailblazer: If hired by Yanks, retired slugger would eclipse likes of Bowa, Piniella as fastest to make transition", mlb.con, November 28, 2017. [1]
  • Ted Berg: "After 19 seasons in the Majors, future Hall of Famer Carlos Beltran finally gets his World Series ring", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, November 2, 2017. [2]
  • Pete Caldera: "Beltran turned down job offer from Yankees ... at least for now", USA Today Sports, February 6, 2018. [3]
  • Anthony DiComo: "Beltrán 'back in the family' as Mets manager", mlb.com, November 1, 2019. [4]
  • Mark Feinsand: "Beltran gets his ring; not sure what's next: 10-time All-Star will bask in glow of championship before determining future", mlb.com, November 2, 2017. [5]
  • Mark Feinsand: "Beltran retires a champ after 20-year career: 9-time All-Star wants to spend more time with family, manage some day", mlb.com, November 13, 2017. [6]
  • Alyson Footer: "Bregman learns from postseason vet Beltran: 2004 playoff standout advises young third baseman to stick with what's worked", mlb.com, October 27, 2017. [7]
  • Bryan Hoch: "Beltran ready to manage Yanks? He's in mix: Recently retired slugger regarded as influential presence", mlb.com, November 29, 2017. [8]
  • Gabe Lacques: "Carlos Beltran ends 20-year career, announces MLB retirement", USA Today Sports, November 13, 2017. [9]
  • Gabe Lacques; "After role in Astros' sign-stealing scandal, can Carlos Beltran manage former foes with Mets?", USA Today, January 15, 2020. [10]
  • Brian McTaggart: "Astros finalize 1-year deal with Beltran: Slugger, who made name for himself in Houston, agrees to $16 million", mlb.com, December 5, 2016. [11]
  • Brian McTaggart: "For '04 Astros, Beltran was lightning in a bottle: Trade brought outfielder to Houston to set up unforgettable postseason performance", mlb.com, December 27, 2016. [12]
  • Bob Nightengale: "In typical Mets fashion, Carlos Beltran's ousting was completely bungled", USA Today, January 16, 2020. [13]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "No experience necessary? Carlos Beltran a true wild card as Yankees pick a manager", USA Today Sports, November 28, 2017. [14]
  • Jesse Sanchez: "Beltrán interested in managing one team: the Mets", mlb.com, October 13, 2019. [15]
  • Justin Toscano: "New York Mets to name former outfielder Carlos Beltran as new manager", USA Today, November 1, 2019. [16]
  • Justin Toscano: "'Can't wait to rewrite our story': Mets introduce new manager Carlos Beltrán", USA Today, November 4, 2019. [17]

Justin Toscano: "Revisiting Carlos Beltran, Astros' sign-stealing scheme as more details emerge", USA Today, February 12, 2020. [18]

  • Jesse Yomtov and Bob Nightengale: "Carlos Beltran out as New York Mets manager in wake of Astros cheating scandal", USA Today, January 16, 2020. [19]

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