PORT ST. LUCIE — As someone who by his own recollection never had a real mentor coming up through the minor leagues, Carlos Beltran is embracing the opportunity to be that guy for the Mets.
Named last week as a special assistant to the general manager, the 45-year-old former All-Star outfielder is most focused on the organization’s young players as his comeback tour in baseball continues.
“I feel that when you are in the minor league system, you need love,” Beltran said Wednesday at Clover Park. “You need people to care about you and that is why I am motivated. I am motivated because I didn’t have that person and I hope I can be the person for those kids.”
It’s a third act with the Mets for Beltran, who played for the team for 6 ½ seasons. After his retirement he spent 77 days as Mets manager, but departed the organization before managing his first game after his role in the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing scheme was quantified by MLB.
Beltran spent 2020 and ‘21 removed from the game completely before returning as an analyst on YES last season, working Yankees games. He had considered returning to that job this season, but his mindset changed after receiving a call from Mets general manager Billy Eppler last month, outlining a front office role for Beltran.
Beltran wouldn’t address what occurred with the Astros, but indicated he understood the pressure he felt from the Mets to tender his resignation as manager.
“I felt like that was a moment that needed to happen and I moved on,” Beltran said. “I went home and reflected on what happened and how it happened and that’s it. We grow from moments that are tough, but at the same time we learn a lot from people and people around you, so I am OK with where I am.
“I take away the horrible experience that I went through. In life a lot of times when you are going through a big storm you think that storm will never pass, but time heals. The good thing is the support I have received from people within the game, players within the game.”
Beltran said he was contacted by multiple teams this offseason about coaching positions — the Mets, according to sources, offered him the assistant hitting coach job — but wasn’t interested in that kind of role in baseball.
He received a call from general manager Billy Eppler last month offering what he considered a better job. Beltran had previous experience in the role, serving as a special assistant to the general manager with the Yankees in 2019.
“I know I went through a moment in my career, it was tough,” Beltran said. “I also know that I have some fans and now I don’t have those fans anymore. But at the end of the day I have to live my life. I have to move on. I have to continue to find positive on negative and to do what I love and being on the field, being in baseball, is what I love.”
Does Beltran still have managerial aspirations?
“You can never say no when you love the game and love being around guys and impact players and make players’ careers better,” Beltran said. “At this point I am OK with where I am, but later on I don’t know.”