Late in his Hall-of-Fame caliber playing career, Carlos Beltran felt a responsibility to positively impact the kids coming up the chain.
“It was important for me to do,’’ Beltran said of sharing the knowledge gained during three decades as a professional. “I felt like a coach, there’s no doubt about it. I think that really helped me to be in the position I am right now.’’
Just over a month since his on-field career ended, with his first World Series ring as a member of the Astros, Beltran believes he’s ready to be the Yankees manager.
A star, switch-hitting center fielder for the Royals and Mets, and an approachable, knowledgeable designated hitter later in his career – including 2014-2016 with the Yanks – Beltran on Wednesday became the sixth candidate to interview for the Yankees’ vacant managing position.
“I never thought this moment was going to come this soon, after retirement (from playing),’’ said Beltran, 40, who was called by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman this past weekend and invited to the Stadium for an interview.
Beltran said he was “excited’’ and “happy for the opportunity’’ to be considered as managerial candidate so soon after hanging up his cleats.
Yet, it’s a transition he doesn’t see as being too drastic, given his mentor role over the past few seasons. And as someone who is freshly off the field, Beltran sees that perspective as a unique advantage.
“I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen what players need in the clubhouse,’’ said Beltran, whose first objective is to create a good clubhouse environment, nurturing and challenging his players.
“I feel very comfortable, talking about the game, trying to lay out the strategies that we could add and apply to this young team,’’ Beltran said. “There’s a lot of ideas I have to encourage guys in the clubhouse and try to make a good environment.’’
And it hasn’t been very long since Beltran was part of that younger Yankees clubhouse, dispensing knowledge to anyone who asked and taking special interest in players’ futures.
During his last spring training as a Yankee, Beltran requested to locker near Aaron Judge, knowing he could assist in his ascent to the big leagues.
“Talking baseball is something I feel comfortable with, discussing strategy and how we can become better as a ballclub,’’ Beltran said of his lengthy interview on Wednesday, which began as a bit “overwhelming’’ before settling in.
“The future is bright,’’ Beltran said of a club that will have heavy expectations after their surprising run to Game 7 of the AL Championship Series under Joe Girardi. “I think it’s going to be fun.’’
And if he were to get the job, “I don’t want to be a manger that comes to the ballpark and waits for the game to start.’’ Beltran said he wants to be proactive, a manager “that interacts with the players and is always bringing something to the table.’’
Communications and connectivity issues were cited by Cashman as being reasons the club moved on from Girardi.
During the interview process, ESPN analyst and former player Aaron Boone, ex-MLB manager and catcher Eric Wedge, Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens, Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward and Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson each put emphasis on the importance of communications and new analytics.
And Beltran was no different, adding that advanced analytics could have helped him more if they were as readily available during his playing career.
He just figured his post-playing career might include a longer vacation, and spending more time with his family in their New York home.
But getting the call to interview for this job, well, it’s “something you can’t turn away from,’’ Beltran said. “This opportunity, especially this one with the Yankees, they don’t come very often.’’