Just in time for the holiday season, Mets 101's Seven in Seven series returns as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of topics related to the New York Mets (i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdowns with the number seven and work all the way to number one. This week's Seven in Seven list is a blockbuster, as we will break down the biggest off-the-field moves that stole the headlines throughout Metropolitan history. We continue the countdown with the fourth biggest transaction in Met history, the free agent signing of outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Beltran spent his first five and a half big league seasons with the Kansas City Royals, who took the center fielder in the second round of the 1995 MLB draft. With a top dollar free agent contract on the horizon, the low-budget Royals shipped Beltran to houston on June 24, 2004 as part of a three-team deal that also included Oakland. From there, Beltran would be named to his first of seven All-Star games and go on to one of the most memorable playoff performances of all-time.
That Fall, the Astros disposed of Atlanta in five games in the NLDS before slugging it out with St. Louis for the NLCS. The 'Stros lost in seven games, but Beltran's numbers are what caught everyone's attention. In 12 games, Beltran hit .435 (20 for 46) with three doubles, eight homers, 14 RBI, nine walks and six stolen bases. This secured the big money the former AL Rookie of the Year sought and it was just a matter of who would be the highest bidder.
In January of 2005, The Mets signed Beltran to a seven-year, $119 Million deal, with the crucial no-trade clause that proved to be the deal-breaker between the Mets offer and competing offers from the Yankees and Astros. It was the midpoint of a total roster overhaul by Omar Minaya, who had recently recruited Pedro Martinez away from Boston and would later sign Carlos Delgado prior to the 2006 season.
How the Mets Fared
In six and a half seasons in New York, Beltran put up some impressive numbers, with injuries later in his tenure limiting the now over-30-year old to just 243 games from 2009 to the 2011 trading deadline. As a Met, Beltran logged 839 games, batting .280 with 878 hits, 149 of them homers, 559 RBI and 100 stolen bases. Unfortunately, he may be best remembered by Met fans for watching the final strike of 2006 go by against Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals, but his numbers certainly do rank him amongst the all-time Met greats. Also, when dealt to the Giants in 2011, the Mets received heralded pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, who projects to be a key fixture in the Met rotation in the years to come.
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