Despite having celebrated his 39th birthday on Sunday, Carlos Beltran's hope is to keep playing after his current three-year, $45 million contract expires at the end of the season. Still, from the clubhouse to the dugout, you can see Beltran preparing for his next job in baseball, with some constructive criticism for a New York Yankees teammate here, a little whisper of encouragement there.
“I’m a player, but I consider myself like another coach here,” Beltran told ESPN.com recently. “I’m always looking, if somebody does something good, I’m like, 'Attaboy.' If somebody does something not so good, I find a way to bring it up, talk about it.”
Beltran said he dreams of one day being a manager. When he retires from a playing career that has included stops with six teams and will earn him strong Hall of Fame consideration, Beltran first plans on taking a brief break before trying to return to the game in some capacity -- with an eye on the dugout.
“That is something I have had that conversation with my wife,” Beltran said of being a manager. “I think -- if it happens -- it would be a great experience for me to do, but, like I said, I’m not concentrating on that, but that is something that could be special if it happens.”
There are several traits that could make Beltran a viable candidate, beginning with his straightforward demeanor. The bilingual Beltran easily can make his points in English or Spanish, an attractive trait in diverse clubhouses.
"When you've made the money he's made, to give back, people don't realize the time involved. And Carlos is the kind of guy who wants to do that. He's a give-back kind of guy. So I think he can handle it. Obviously who he is and what he is and the fact that he's been around so many different people, I think he'll have a good blend to know how to deal with players, how to motivate."New York Mets skipper Terry Collins
“The most important thing for a manager is communication,” Beltran said. “You have to be able to communicate with the guys. You have to be able to know the personalities. There are some guys that you have to be passive the way you approach them. There are some guys you have to motivate them.
“For me, the manager’s job is to get to know the people, get to know the person and try to push the right button and make the player go out there and play the game hard, be supportive. When they struggle, give them a pat on the back and say, 'I believe in you, brother.'"
When asked which managers stick out for him over his career, the first name Beltran mentioned was Terry Collins, one of the skippers he played for during his time with the New York Mets.
“You know what for me, Terry Collins was great,” Beltran said. “He communicated. He had passion, energy so you see him like a guy who cares.”
Collins knows Beltran won’t need to manage for the money, considering his career earnings as a player are approaching $200 million.
“Carlos Beltran spent hours around the batting cage helping young players so he loves that part of it,” Collins told ESPN.com's Adam Rubin. “When you’ve made the money he’s made, to give back, people don’t realize the time involved. And Carlos is the kind of guy who wants to do that. He’s a give-back kind of guy. So I think he can handle it. Obviously who he is and what he is and the fact that he’s been around so many different people, I think he’ll have a good blend to know how to deal with players, how to motivate.”
Beltran might be more like Collins than his current manager, Joe Girardi, when it comes to dealing with the media.
“It is better to go straightforward and show some emotion,” said Beltran, who was not specifically referencing Girardi. “When you are happy, you are happy. When you are not happy, you are not happy. People respect that more instead of trying to be this perfect person. If you say the truth, you are clean.”
Beltran called Girardi "a good manager."
“He wishes everyone well,” Beltran said. “He tries to put everyone in the spot that they can be successful. Even though a lot of managers say that, he always tries to put you in a spot where he feels you can be successful and you can help the team win.”
So what type of manager would Beltran be?
“Players' manager,” Beltran said. “I know how hard the game is. I know how difficult the game [is]. If I get the opportunity, I have to make sure my players are mentally in the right spot. Being able to play the game for this many years and being able to go through ups and downs and injuries, I know the game is hard. You have to communicate. You have to be honest. That’s the most important one, [to] try to help them accomplish their dream and help them to be successful.”