September 26, 2021

Rosenthal: ‘Wow, this is impressive.’ How a lunch with old colleagues put the Mets on a path to hire Carlos Beltrán (The Athletic)

Lunch was at the Antonucci Cafe on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Three old friends — Carlos Beltrán, Allard Baird and Omar Minaya — got together in early October, intent on catching up.

The Mets had just fired Mickey Callaway as manager. Baird and Minaya, both Mets executives, did not schedule the meeting intending to talk to Beltrán about the opening. The purpose, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen would say later, was “a social reconnection,” nothing more.

Beltrán, 42, was just two years removed from his retirement as a player, working as a special assistant with the Yankees. Both Baird and Minaya had known him since he was 17 years old, when they first scouted him in Puerto Rico for the Rangers and Royals, respectively. Baird became Beltrán’s GM with the Royals.

In 2005, Minaya signed him to a seven-year, $119 million free-agent contract as GM of the Mets. Both remained confidants of the nine-time All-Star as he journeyed to five…

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