The Hunt for Carlos Beltran: Which Teams Remain Likely Candidates for Beltran?
Carlos Beltran wasn’t expected to be a star for the Mets this season, but he and his surgically repaired right knee have thrived so far this season, and suddenly, Beltran has become one of the most sought-after bats on the market.
Beltran has posted a .287/.381/.512 statline with 14 home runs, 59 RBIs, and a league-leading 28 doubles this year, and those are the type of numbers that could help a lot of teams. The Mets are 47-47 and even though they’re still at .500 at this point in the season, it’s safe to say they won’t overtake the Atlanta Braves or Philadelphia Phillies for the division, and with Beltran a free agent after the season, the Mets would be smart to try to get something for their $119 million outfielder before he’s gone.
5. New York Yankees
The Yankees already have a competent right fielder in Nick Swisher, a power-hitter who has topped 20 home runs for six straight seasons, so if they got Carlos Beltran, then Swisher (or Beltran) would play DH. Beltran hasn’t been linked to the Yankees nearly as much as the other top candidates, but any time there’s a high-profile player, the Yankees have to be among the teams associated with the player.
Plus, the Yankees are still 1.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox, and Beltran would help to cut down on that deficit… plus if the Yankees got him, that would mean the Red Sox couldn’t have him.
4. Texas Rangers
The Rangers are four games up over the L.A. Angels, and Carlos Beltran would boost an already formidable lineup that includes reigning league MVP Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, and Michael Young.
Beltran could play either left field for David Murphy or center field for Julio Borbon, and he would solidify an offense that already ranks second in the major leagues in team batting average (.272) and slugging percentage (.447).
3. Philadelphia Phillies
This move would make a lot of sense. Shane Victorino has thrived in center field, but he’s already visited the DL twice this year. Raul Ibanez and Domonic Brown have been extremely streaky in left and right field, and Beltran tears up lefties, and the Phillies could really use a solid bat to protect Ryan Howard in the lineup, since the team has gotten very little production from their number five hitters this season.
The Phillies can’t afford to spend much more because of their current payroll situation, but Beltran would only cost $6 million for the rest of the season. Then again, that and some prospects could be a high price to pay for a rental player.
2. San Francisco Giants
Last year, the San Francisco Giants managed to win the World Series because of a dynamite pitching staff that carried a weak offense. If the Giants could somehow land Carlos Beltran, the team’s chances of repeating would greatly increase. Beltran would offer stability to an outfield that has had to send out Andres Torres (.235, 3 HR, .688 OPS) in center field for the majority of the season.
Beltran would be the only player on the team on pace for over 20 home runs, and with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Brian Wilson in October, the Giants would have as good a chance as any team of winning it all in 2011.
1. Boston Red Sox
J.D. Drew has vastly underperformed for the duration of his five-year, $70 million contract he signed with the Red Sox prior to the ’07 season, but never more so than 2011, his final year with the team. He is posting a statline of .222/.321/.309 with four home runs and 22 RBIs, and Beltran would team with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford to give the BoSox a strong outfield offensively.
The Red Sox are big spenders, and they have reportedly shown more interest in Beltran than any other team. He would just be a two-month player, but the Red Sox are always a win-now team, and Beltran is missing that elusive World Series ring.