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Beltrán hears call of the dugout, but which one?

@NathalieMLB
October 5, 2019

NEW YORK -- Carlos Beltrán wants to manage in the Major Leagues, and he’s not being coy about it. “I think, with my experience in baseball, I can contribute to a clubhouse, contribute to players’ lives,” the former outfielder said in Spanish at Yankee Stadium before Game 2 of the

NEW YORK -- Carlos Beltrán wants to manage in the Major Leagues, and he’s not being coy about it.

“I think, with my experience in baseball, I can contribute to a clubhouse, contribute to players’ lives,” the former outfielder said in Spanish at Yankee Stadium before Game 2 of the American League Division Series. “I think with the respect I earned in baseball, I have the credibility that I can do it.”

A nine-time All-Star, Beltrán played 20 seasons in the big leagues with seven teams. The 1999 American League Rookie of the Year finished his career with a .279 average, 2,725 hits, 435 home runs, 1,587 RBIs, 312 stolen bases and a .350 on-base percentage in 2,568 games. He retired after getting his first World Series ring with the Houston Astros in 2017.

The Puerto Rico native, currently a special adviser to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, says his approach as a manager would not be all that different from his approach as a player.

“I love being able to have an impact,” Beltrán said. “That was always my mentality as a player, trying to have an impact on my teammates, on my team. As a manager, nothing would change. It would basically be a matter of finding the way to motivate players every day to come to the field every day and give their all.”

Beltrán, who played for the Yankees from 2014-16, interviewed for their managerial vacancy before the 2018 season. The job went to another former Yankee with no previous managing experience, Aaron Boone. Beltrán joined New York’s front office last December.

In the last few years, several teams have opted to hire former players who have little or no managerial or coaching experience but are valued instead for their communication skills and analytics savvy. Alex Cora, for one, spent a single season on the Astros’ staff before winning the World Series as a rookie manager with the Red Sox last season.

Beltrán said it’s “motivating” to see such managers excelling, though he adds that he doesn't fully buy into the lack of experience narrative.

“It’s not that they don’t have experience,” Beltrán said. “… Alex was a tremendous ballplayer, knows a lot about baseball and knows what’s important, just like Aaron Boone.”

Beltrán, 42, says he’s had conversations with several “baseball people” about managerial positions. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Beltrán recently declined to interview for the Padres’ managerial vacancy.

“It’s difficult to talk about that right now because the focus is on the Yankees,” Beltrán said.

Beltrán is among the names that have surfaced as potential candidates to manage the Mets, who fired Mickey Callaway on Thursday.

Beltrán played for the Mets from 2005-11. In that span, he won three Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger Awards and made five All-Star Games. He is nonetheless a polarizing figure for the Mets’ fan base. For many, his defining moment in a Mets uniform came in Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series against the Cardinals, when he struck out looking with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth with New York trailing by two runs.

Miscommunication over how a knee injury was handled in 2010 is believed to have strained Beltrán’s relationship with the Mets. But Beltrán downplays the perception that he’s on bad terms with his former team.

“I can’t say my time with the Mets was bad,” he said. “I played seven years with the New York Mets. If I were to get into the Hall of Fame, I have to consider the Mets as the team [for the plaque]. … I had my best years with the New York Mets. If people have that perspective, that’s the perspective of the fan base. I established great friendships and great relationships when I was with the New York Mets.”

Asked if he would open to interviewing with the Mets given the history, Beltrán said, “You can’t rule anything out in life. You can’t live life thinking about the past. You have to live in the present.”

Does that mean Beltrán would listen if Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen called?

“You'd have to listen,” he said.

Nathalie Alonso is part of the editorial team of LasMayores.com, the official MLB page in Spanish. Follow her on Twitter @NathalieMLB.