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Coleman’s Corner: Carlos The Teacher

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AP Photo/Evan Vucci

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

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Although the Mets will look for takers for Carlos Beltran’s contract, there is a very good chance that Beltran will finish out his 7-year deal in New York. 18 million reasons, the money remaining for his final year, 2011. The Mets are likely willing to eat half of that money if they can find an interested suitor, but keep in mind that Beltran has a full no-trade clause and considerable say in where he might be going. The other alternative is to hope that Beltran – and his surgically repaired knee – comes back healthy next season, and puts up gaudy numbers during his walk-year so that he can earn some kind of multi-year contract beyond 2011.

Whatever you think of Beltran, one attribute that he has shown throughout his Met tenure has been his ability to help his teammates and tutor young players. Beltran has a keen eye, and can pick out flaws or changes in a batter’s stance, stride, foot placement, leg kick, approach, etc. And he’s not afraid to share his opinions when he’s watching someone at work in the cage. He’s helped David Wright, Jose Reyes, Jeff Francoeur and many others get through tough times. When Beltran speaks, hitters listen.

The latest to receive his tutelage is Lucas Duda. Duda started out his Met career in the worst possible way, with just one hit in his first 34 AB. A big power hitter who had put up impressive numbers at both Binghamton and Buffalo, Duda was uptight, struggling, and frankly lost. Beltran sat him down, and told him to relax.

Perhaps remembering his own younger, struggling days in Kansas City, Beltran has a knack of reaching younger players – he reached out to Duda, and the kid listened.

And Duda obviously listened – and responded. Since getting together with Beltran, Duda has gone 8-15 with 2 HR, 3 doubles and 6 RBI. He’s raised his average from .029 to .184, and 6 of his 9 hits have gone for extra bases. A shy, reticent kid now feels like he belongs. Beltran had one final message to deliver, perhaps the most important of all – you’re not alone.

The Mets are hoping for that as well, for 2011 and beyond.

Kevin Towers has been named the new Diamondbacks G.M. I understand that Jerry DiPoto was the interim G.M. in Arizona, and that Omar Minaya is per se not an interim here. But if people have already packed and loaded up Jerry Manuel’s car before the season ends, then I think Minaya might fall into the interim category if not in the strictest terms. I also understand that the Mets might not be fully prepared to undergo their search at this particular moment, but I also believe that Towers was by far the best candidate for the job. So is it mind-boggling to anyone else but me that the Mets just let Towers pass to Arizona without so much as a phone call to gauge any interest he might have had? Does it surprise anyone that Towers agreed to what seems like a reasonable 2-year contract worth approximately $2.5 million with options, and the Mets never extended an offer to his camp? Unfortunately, no. Just business as usual.

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