Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
After his third consecutive productive season of playing at least 142 games as an everyday right fielder and yet another great postseason—he now has a 1.128 OPS and 16 homers in 51 career playoff games—I thought Carlos Beltran could possibly get a three-year, $60 million deal as a free agent this offseason.
He did end up getting a three-year deal for his ages 37-39 seasons, but the New York Yankees got one of the best hitters in the game for only $15 million per year. The biggest question, obviously, is whether he will stay healthy and continue to produce at such a high level through his late 30s.
While a player's production can decline suddenly from one year to the next once he's in his 30s, Beltran has shown no signs of slowing down and has been one of the most consistent players in the game for more than a decade. Over the past 13 seasons, he's had a sub-.830 OPS only twice (.744 OPS in 2005; .768 OPS in 2010) and he's been an All-Star in eight of those years.
Beltran seems rejuvenated at the opportunity to be a Yankee, which could play a role in his performance:
Having the opportunity to come back again as a Yankee really means a lot to me. I grew being a Yankee fan. Grew up being a Bernie Williams fan. At one point I almost got the opportunity to sign with the Yankees. It didn't work out. But at the end of the day what is in the past, is in the past. I'm looking forward to joining this ballclub, looking forward to the challenges ahead.
The ability to utilize him in the designated hitter spot at least once or twice per week should also help greatly. Even if that number rises to four or five times per week or if he has to move to the designated hitter spot permanently by year three of his deal, he should still have enough value as a hitter to earn his salary.