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Current Team: St. Louis Cardinals
2013 Stats: 145 GP, .296/.339/.491, 24 HR, 84 RBI
Carlos Beltran is arguably the second-biggest free agent available this offseason, and he will stay with the St. Louis Cardinals when it's all said and done.
After batting .295 with 35 home runs and 115 RBI in his career in Busch Stadium, Beltran knows that he is at his best in St. Louis.
Apart from his personal success, Beltran has also enjoyed more success with the Cardinals than any other team in his career. It took 16 years, but he finally made it to the World Series this year with the team, the first of his career.
Beltran has also seemed more comfortable and happy in St. Louis than at any other point in his career. As Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes:
[Beltran's] comfort and happiness with the organization is striking. He is at a stage of his career where the postseason is important, and St. Louis appears to set up better than the Yankees next year for a championship run (it's the difference between system loaded with high-end talent, and a system seeking a way to replace its fading icons).
The Cards' fan base responds viscerally to Beltran, cheering him as the clutch hero that he actually is; this must feel like an immense relief from his Mets years, when many New Yorkers fixated on the Wainwright moment, failing to realize that he was the greatest free agent signing in franchise history.
Beltran has his pick of where he wants to play next season, as no team would be stupid enough to let him walk without making him an offer if he were to express interest.
The Cardinals obviously want to keep their star outfielder, and he should be back for a third season with them in 2014.