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The 34-year-old Beltran is in the final year of a $119 million deal he signed with the Mets before the 2005 season. He was plagued by knee injuries the past two seasons, but has been healthy this year.
The Mets won four of their first 15 games and haven't been higher than third in the NL East after that poor start, prompting them to look into trades.
Star shortstop Jose Reyes, who also can become a free agent after this season, said Beltran took teammates to a local steakhouse owned by one of his friends following an 8-6 win over the Reds on Tuesday night.
"We were joking with him: `You're doing this because you're going to get traded,'" Reyes said. "He said, `No. no.'"
Reyes said losing Beltran will be a huge blow to the Mets, who are 53-51 after beating the Reds for the third straight game.
"You lose a guy like that in July, it's big, it's huge," Reyes said. "We've got to continue to play with what we've got. It's not easy to replace that kind of player. It's going to be tough."
Beltran drove in at least 112 runs for three straight seasons from 2006-08, but few Mets fans will forget his at-bat during the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 2006 NL championship series against St. Louis. Beltran came up with the bases loaded and the Mets trailing 3-1, and struck out looking to end the game.
Collins said Lucas Duda would play in right field a lot after Beltran is gone.
"I'm probably more comfortable at first base and left field because I haven't played a lot out there," Duda said. "I'll try my best out there and see what happens."
"He'd better get comfortable real fast," Collins said.
Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey has known Beltran since 2000 and will miss having him in the clubhouse.
"He's a very complete individual, not only on the field but off," Dickey said. "He's a valuable piece that's leaving. It's kind of sad."
Cleveland reportedly was interested in Beltran, but the outfielder didn't want to go to the rebuilding Indians, who have surprised by staying in contention in the AL Central.
"While I won't comment on specific players, we are continuing to work to try to improve the team and haven't limited ourselves in the alternatives we've considered,' Indians general manager Chris Antonetti told The Associated Press in an email.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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