Is Carlos Beltran still a center fielder? That’s a question the Mets will try and find out during spring training. Even Terry Collins has said that Beltran will have to prove he can still play the position, and that he’ll be given the chance to play there during the Grapefruit League schedule to give the team a chance to evaluate his mobility. Of course, part of the reason Beltran’s position is unclear is that Angel Pagan is poised to take the center field job, shifting Beltran to right. Still, the question of whether Beltran, a three-time Gold Glove winner, can still play in center is a real one.
It’s also a concern shared by at least one potential trade partner — or, more accurately, a former potential trade partner, as Joel Sherman reports today that the Mets and Angels had discussions about Beltran. Now, it’s possible that these discussions weren’t very serious — or that a reasonable trade simply couldn’t be worked out. But, according to Sherman, the Angels (a team that’s said they were willing to increase their payroll to add offense) ultimately decided that Vernon Wells — even with the huge financial commitment associated with employing Wells for the next four years — was a better move. Their reasons, according to Sherman? Just as you’d expect: concerns over Beltran’s health, and, yes, doubts whether he can still play center field.
3UP: Beltran, Betances and Banuelos [Joel Sherman’s Hardball/NYP]