LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Carlos Beltran remains an intriguing trade chip, and the Mets have discussed the possibility of moving him during these winter meetings, but it appears that he is likely to stay put, at least for Opening Day. Beltran's agent Scott Boras said Wednesday that he has not been approached about waving his no-trade clause and he expects Beltran to be with the Mets this season.
"We have not been given any information from anyone about him being anything other than a Met," Boras said, "and I think that's Carlos' and [wife] Jessica's mind-set. They have a home there and there's not been any other factors to suggest he won't be with the Mets."
Beltran is entering the final season of his seven-year, $119-million contract, and with $18.5 million coming to him, the Mets would like to cut some of that cost from the payroll - even if it means eating part of that salary. General manager Sandy Alderson suggested Tuesday that he would be open to paying a portion of a player's contract if it made sense to move him, and that would likely happen in any deal for Beltran.
Other teams also would be concerned about the health of Beltran's surgically repaired knees, and even Alderson is keeping his fingers crossed.
"I'm not characterizing him as a question mark," Alderson said. "I'm simply not stating unequivocally that the knee is no longer an issue. I think it would be foolish for me to do that at this point. Do we think he's going to be able to play for us on an almost every day basis, or an every day basis, next year? Yes."
Alderson backed up Boras' claim that the subject of Beltran's no-trade clause has not been broached. "We haven't even considered that issue at this point," said Alderson, who added, "whatever may have been intriguing yesterday is no longer the case."
The Mets and Red Sox have had preliminary talks about Beltran, but nothing is imminent. Boston wants a run-producing outfielder like Beltran, but it's unclear what the Mets would get in return. Alderson is desperate for starting pitching, and in terms of money, Daisuke Matsuzaka - who is scheduled to receive $20 million in the next two years - is an easy match.
Still, the Red Sox are in no hurry to deal Matsuzaka, who has a full no-trade clause of his own.
"I don't think anyone is concerned about Carlos Beltran's abilities," Boras said. "They're just concerned about him returning to full health."
If his knees hold up, Beltran remains valuable and is expected to be the Mets' starting centerfielder and No. 4 hitter.
But the hiring of Alderson and new manager Terry Collins, Boras believes, has cooled Beltran's bitterness. Alderson was among the Mets' contingent that visited Beltran at the fundraiser for his baseball academy in Puerto Rico.
Notes & quotes: The Mets signed righthander Boof Bonser to a minor-league contract. Bonser, 29, went 1-0 with a 6.12 ERA in 15 appearances with the Red Sox and Athletics . . . Alderson expects to complete the coaching staff in the next few days, with Triple-A manager Ken Oberkfell likely to get the nod as bench coach.
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