The ongoing rumor mill surrounding the Atlanta Braves trade interest in Carlos Beltran may become a bit more tepid after some comments Sunday by Beltran himself. Beltran rules out going to an American League team to DH, but he also seems to rule out playing any other position but right field:
"I'm an outfielder," Beltran said. "I feel very comfortable in the outfield."
Beltran volunteered to move from center field to right field in spring training this year with the Mets, because his cranky knees had reduced his range. Beltran sounded lukewarm about moving back to center field as a rental player for the remainder of the season.
"For two months, we can discuss that," he said. "Right now I feel so comfortable in right field and it's working so good for me that I don't want to make any change."
This would be a problem for the Braves who have a young player in Jason Heyward cemented in right field. While Beltran has played center for most of his career, only moving to right field this season, Heyward has played center in only 17 minor league games, so potentially moving him to center in the middle of the season could come with a steep learning curve.
Add to that the fact that the Mets seem to be insisting on an impact arm in return for the privilege of renting Beltran for two months, and a trade seems less likely than it did before the weekend, as many analysts seem to be echoing the same thing: that the Braves are hesitant to give up any of their top arms for a rent-a-player.
The Braves would need Beltran to play center, and play it with an ability approaching that which won him three Gold Gloves from 2006 to 2008. It's strange that Beltran would paint himself into such a corner, where he would only go to a certain set of teams and only play one position.
We'll see if he walks these statements back in the next few days as the list of teams who are truly serious about acquiring him narrows.