Last night against the Washington Nationals, Carlos Beltran broke out in a big way. He slugged two home runs against Tom Gorzelanny and scored a third run off of an error to help lead the New York Mets to victory. This is something the team, and fans, need to see more of during the duration of the season.

After two injury prone seasons in which he total only 145 games, Beltran has become the forgotten man in the middle of the lineup. However, he is one of the best players in the league when healthy. In his six years with the Mets, he has made four All-Star games, won three Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards. Still, most fans will consider his contract a disappointment.

This season, he still feels he needs to prove himself worthy. He will be making $19 million this year and, unless agent Scott Boras pulls his greatest magic act yet, he is due for a hefty decrease in salary next year. The only way for him to help his case is on the field. This means not only performing his best, but also physically playing as many games as he can. There is very little market 35-year-olds who can’t play more than half of a season (unless your name is Moises Alou).

This is how the Mets and Carlos Beltran can help each other. If he performs well in the cleanup spot in the lineup, it will help the team towards their playoff push. While there are questions surrounding the team’s pitching staff, the lineup should be a strength for this team, and Carlos is as important to its success as anyone.

Meanwhile, if does perform well and the team “plays meaningful games in September,” other teams will definitely take notice. They will see a player who graciously changed positions for the benefit of the team, and performed well to help his team win. There are plenty of openings in Major League Baseball for players like that.

The other side of the coin is if he plays well, but the team around him does not. This will still help both sides. With very little chance the Mets re-sign him after the season, he is a perfect trade candidate at the July 31st deadline. If Beltran is playing to his full capabilities, the Mets will be able to unload him and receive some quality prospects in return.

Worst-case scenario, Carlos’ bothersome legs come back to haunt him and he is unable to remain on the field. He will remain with the Mets until the end of the season, where he will be lightly recruited around the league and the Mets will receive no compensation. When Omar Minaya signed the All-Star before the 2005 season, the contract stated the team could not offer him arbitration, and therefore no receive draft picks in return for losing him.

More likely than not, Carlos Beltran will not finish the season with the Mets. The only chance he has of staying is if the team were still alive in the playoff race, at which point they would gladly keep him. In any scenario, the only way both sides will benefit is if Beltran is on the field and doing what he does best.

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