It has been reported that the New York Mets could be looking to move Carlos Beltran, and who could blame them? He is 33 and has played in only 145 games the past two seasons combined due to knee problems.

Beltran is also owed $18.5 million in the final season of his contract.

Meanwhile, the Cubs are trying to pare down payroll as new owner Tom Ricketts wants to build through the farm system. And while moving Carlos Zambrano for Beltran won’t accomplish anything in 2011, Big Z’s contract is guaranteed through 2012, so this move would save the Cubs at least $36 million, and possibly more if his 2013 player option vests. 

But why would the Mets do this? Well, Zambrano actually flashed some of his old form after coming back from a suspension in 2010. Zambrano was 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 10 starts following his return to the Cubs’ starting rotation in August. 

Both players have no-trade clauses, and Zambrano has said he does not want to go anywhere.

The always-questionable Bruce Levine reported back in October that “resurgent Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano said he will invoke his no-trade clause if he’s approached about a deal during the offseason.” 

But sometimes there are offers you just can’t refuse and if the Mets were to guarantee his vesting option for 2013, he just might come around.

As for the other Carlos, the AP reports that “Beltran says he wants to finish his career with the Mets, but if the team wants to trade him, ‘I have to listen.'”

The Cubs want to be rid of the headaches that Zambrano has caused and while new Mets GM Sandy Alderson is a smart man, starting pitching is awfully hard to come by, and it is unlikely that Beltran fits into the team’s plans this season, much less beyond 2011.

The Cubs, meanwhile, could try Beltran at first base or right field with Kosuke Fukudome being traded. How this would affect Tyler Colvin is immaterial, as he should not be a starting outfielder anyway.

Might Beltran have a resurgent year heading into free agency? It could happen. Zambrano could also have a big year, but what’s wrong with a win-win situation?

I admit this is not likely, but stranger things have happened.

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