Carlos Beltran told a friend this weekend that despite his public statements that he would approve a trade to Texas or Boston," reports ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. He has told the Mets he only wants to be traded to one of seven National League contenders, according to a source familiar with that conversation.
The source, who was not present for the conversation, said Beltran doesn't want to approve a deal to Texas because the Rangers would want him to play center field and because he's not familiar with the AL West. Texas has been described by multiple sources to have ramped up its pursuit of Beltra over the weekend.
The source said he wasn't given the names of the seven NL teams to which Beltran would OK a deal. But only eight NL clubs started Sunday within four games of a playoff spot -- the Phillies, Braves, Giants, Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates, Reds and Diamondbacks. Of that group, six teams -- the Phillies, Braves, Giants, Pirates, Reds and Brewers -- have expressed interest in Beltran at various points this month.
The really pecuilar thing about this -- provided it's true, which is not a complete certainty, since Stark's source wasn't actually present for the conversation between the Mets and Beltran -- is Beltran being under the assumption that the Rangers want to play him in center field, rather than in a corner outfield spot. Actually, the other strange thing about this is his reluctance to green-light a deal because of his lack of familiarity with the AL West ... it'd be one thing if he was saying, okay, I've got my roots planted in New York and don't want to leave my family even for a couple of months, but that doesn't appear to be what he's saying. I would guess that this is about him trying to put himself in an advantageous position where his next contract was concerned, but that's only a guess.
Strange ... and, if true, disappointing.