$17 million per year?
I write this as a disheartened Mets fan.... So, I know they are trying to make splashes on the back page, but didn't we think that the A-Rod & Manny Ramirez fiascos made people realize that this kind of contract can just kill a team?
If Beltran turns out to be great and the Mets find that they can also build a team around them (and they better, because they are missing many pieces), so be it. But if he's not, this contract makes him absolutely untradeable (unless the Yanks take him or the Mets just suck up a bunch of the money).
Beltran is a great player but this reminds me a bit of Antonio McDyess. Back in the 1996 NCAA tourney, McDyess was a known but not superlative player at Alabama. But in the first round, I watched him throw down 39 points and 19 rebounds against Penn and thought "this guy just made himself a few million bucks in one night." After he put up 22 points and 17 boards against Oklahoma St. in a loss, sure enough McDyess left school early and was the #2 pick overall, signing a big contract. Compare that to Beltran's 2004 playoff performance. Beltran is a true "five tool" player, but it is hard to imagine the Mets overpaying by this much if he didn't make people drool over a two-week span in October.
Let's examine a couple of the flaws in this signing: 1) there will be a lot of pressure in home games, since last I checked, New York can be, oh let's say, a somewhat hostile place if you don't perform. Beltran hit (not a typo) .225 at home last year. Now he hit better at home than on the road his prior couple of years, but still, that is a shockingly low number. 2) While he does have good OBP numbers, hitting .267 like last year just will not get it done in the press and could backfire on Minaya. 3) Last year was a career high for him at OPS.....with .915, a nice number, but not a number that makes you say, let's get him to go for a long contract at a staggering salary.
I hope I am wrong, but I would hate to see this be the contract that keeps the Mets in the basement for the next 7 years.