Beltran: Mets' New "Pitch" Man

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Now pitching for the Mets: Carlos Beltran.<br> <br> One day after doing his first meet-and-greets with the New York press, the $119 million man arrived at the club's spring training complex and made no secret of his next offseason desire – that the Mets woo first baseman Carlos Delgado, the icing on a very flavorful winter trading period.

"I hope we can sign him," Beltran said. "I'm happy with the team and the direction we're taking, and hopefully we can sign him because we need a first baseman."

With Beltran and GM Omar Minaya primed to fly to Puerto Rico on Thursday for Beltran's third press conference in as many days, Delgado has surged onto the Mets' radar in neon hot letters.

Beltran said he wouldn't invite Delgado to his press conference for fear of pressuring him - "He knows what's best for him. He will make the right decision no matter what," Beltran said - but Minaya is tentatively scheduled to meet with Delgado on Friday. It is likely that the team could improve upon its original offer of three years and $30 million.

After inking Pedro Martinez and now Beltran, stunning the baseball world twice, nothing appears out of question. It seems the Mets are suddenly the team of choice for premier big-money free agents, quite the reversal from where the franchise was two or three months back.

"I think it started with Pedro," Minaya said. "It's not about wins and losses. Beltran got excited when we got Pedro, and I think it's a domino effect."

"It (signing Martinez) really surprised me," Beltran said. "It made me start thinking that they're trying to make a run and win ballgames. That's where you want to be."

Even typically cynical scribes have warmed to the Mets, with some now elevating the Mets from NL East also-rans to lightly penciled choices for a Wild Card team. Beltran said Wednesday that he felt the organization was moving forward from the top down, the major reason that baseball's most coveted free agent of the winter decided to call Queens his home through 2011.

"When they signed Pedro and put Omar and Tony [Bernazard] in the front office, I knew the team was headed in the right direction," Beltran said. "Omar knows how to get to players and he's been in baseball for a long time. When they signed Pedro, it was a big influence on me and I just decided to get things done with the Mets."

  • No call list: Several media reports on Wednesday indicated that outfielder Mike Cameron now wishes to be traded after the Beltran signing, as he would reportedly prefer to play centerfield elsewhere instead of playing right field for the Mets.

    Beltran said that he hadn't heard any such reports – though he did fly from New York on Wednesday, where it was printed in at least two tabloids – and said that he felt no need to call Cameron and try to mend fences.

    "That's up to the manager and the front office," Beltran said. "They have to deal with it. I signed with the Mets because I wanted to play centerfield."

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