Friday, May 22, 2009

Steve Phillips says that Carlos Beltran is Not a Winning Player

Former New York Mets general manager and current ESPN analyst Steve Phillips addressed a question during his chat in regards to his comment on Sunday night's baseball telecast on ESPN.

From the chat:

"Beltran Stays (New York): Steve, while I respect your work, I disagree with your statements about Carlos Beltran on Sunday Night Baseball. The guy has done nothing but produce, and name me a CF who's better in the game right now.

SportsNation Steve Phillips: If the Mets don't make the playoffs, I firmly believe they need to reconfigure the core of this team. While Beltran does have talent, I just don't see him as a winning player. Even after my comments on Sunday night, Beltran let a fly ball drop in between himself and Angel Pagan in the Dodger game. I see him putting up numbers but not making plays to win games. I would take Torii Hunter, Grady Sizemore, Curtis Granderson, and Nate McLouth over Beltran, and use the financial difference to improve the team in other ways. Beltran isn't a $17 million dollar a year player. He just doesn't have the kind of impact for that kind of money.

SportsNation Steve Phillips: Many people think that Alex Rodriguez is the best player in the game, but he's never won anything. I look at Beltran in a similar fashion as Rodriguez--a great talent that just doesn't seem to have what it takes to win championships. Maybe the Mets can keep him and add pieces to the core around him and still win. But when you're dealing with a budget and the screams of immediacy in New York, I'm not sure the Mets can wait to piece it together around him. I know there are a lot of people who disagree with me, but it's just the way I see it. Beltran is a very good person and a solid citizen, in addition to being a guy who puts up numbers. I like him, I just don't think they can win with him."

I read something about Phillips making those comments about Beltran during the game, and I appreciate that Phillips took the question and addressed it with his opinion. That said, I see no reason to think Phillips is right.

Baseball is not really a team sport and not really an individual sport. It's a weird mix. On the one hand, it is essentially pitcher vs. batter with a defense behind the pitcher. The batter is not affected by his teammates. The catch is that it is 9 batters going one on one against the pitcher and his defense. Carlos Beltran, David Wright and Jose Reyes do their parts very well.

I'm not going to get into the numbers because we all know Beltran puts up good numbers. Phillips acknowledges this. The point is that Beltran and Alex Rodriguez do their parts really well and do contribute to winning baseball. If we're looking at World Series rings, well, no they have not won a championship.

But Phillips says this:

"I would take Torii Hunter, Grady Sizemore, Curtis Granderson, and Nate McLouth over Beltran, and use the financial difference to improve the team in other ways."

Torii Hunter, Grady Sizemore, Curtis Granderson and Nate McLouth all have zero World Series rings. Coco Crisp has a World Series ring. Want him instead? How about Shane Victorino? Juan Pierre has a ring.

If the New York Mets were concerned about the financial implications of Beltran's contract and their inability to sign contracts, maybe they shouldn't have signed Luis Castillo who made $6.25 million last year or the inconsistent Oliver Perez to a three year $36 million contract.

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