In the days following Carlos Beltran’s recent retirement from baseball, the 40-year-old world champion and future Hall-of-Fame slugger was eager to travel home to Puerto Rico and coordinate Hurricane Maria relief efforts for his devastated island. Although he envisioned a future involvement in the game, Beltran elected to place baseball on the back-burner as something to return to at a more convenient time.
This was the plan until Beltran received a phone call from Brian Cashman last weekend.
On Sunday, the Yankees’ general manager asked Beltran if he had any interest in visiting Yankee Stadium and interviewing for the franchise’s managerial vacancy, to which he unshockingly replied with a yes.
“I never thought this moment was going to come this soon after retirement,” said Beltran, who became the sixth person to interview for the position on Wednesday. “I personally felt that when retired from baseball, that I was going to be able to spend a little time with the family. But this is something you cannot turn away from.”
Beltran is no stranger to the pressures of New York. During his 20-year career in the majors, he spent half of them with the Yankees and crosstown rival Mets. Across the league, Beltran is known for his class, professionalism, and knowledge — traits that the organization hopes to find in all of its managerial candidates, both young and old.
But in Beltran’s case, place emphasis on “young.” He is only a month removed from life as a ballplayer, and with no managerial experience, there could be several challenges in a transition like this one.
Nevertheless, Beltran doesn’t seemed fazed by the job description.
“Being able to get a job like Yankees manager, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that, and I’m all for it,” said Beltran, who told reporters that he’d like to have an experienced bench coach by his side. “I don’t want to be a manager that comes to the ballpark and waits for the game to start. I want to be a proactive manager that interacts with the players and is always bringing something to the table for them.”
An answer the Yankees want to hear, as their next manager must be able to effectively communicate with players and staff, and also establish a constructive working environment. According to reports, Beltran stressed the importance of “truthful conversations” and relationships, and while interviewing with the brass, they discussed game strategy.
He also reportedly told Cashman before his retirement that he’d be willing to help the franchise out in some way following the season. So, perhaps this turn of events didn’t come as a surprise for either of them.
“The respect I have for him is incredible,” Beltran said of Cashman.
CC Sabathia, who is currently a free agent, enjoyed his time playing with Beltran in New York (2014-16), and he’s not opposed to seeing the Puerto Rican native become Joe Girardi’s successor in the Bronx.
“[Carlos] is a great guy, obviously his baseball IQ is off the charts,’’ Sabathia told NorthJersey.com on Tuesday. “He’s a great personality, he can get along with the guys, I think he’ll be a good manager.
“When ‘Los was here, he was kind of like a manager. [He was] always talking to the guys, taking them aside, pitchers, relievers, starters, hitters – he does it all.”
At the owner’s meetings, Hal Steinbrenner told reporters that he and his front office planned to interview less than 10 candidates before making a final decision (which currently has no timetable). So far, Rob Thomson, Eric Wedge, Aaron Boone, Hensley Muelens, Chris Woodward, and Beltran have been introduced as candidates.