Carlos Beltran is a classic middle of the order hitter.
The San Francisco Giants have been burned in the not-so-distant past with big-money, multi-year contracts, most notably, Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand. In order to take a risk on contracts like these, you must be an organization that can afford to absorb the contract if the player gets hurt or drastically underperforms. Only a handful of teams are in that position and the Giants are not one of them, I don't think.
That's not to say that the Giants are poor by any means. I'm sure that they are in their best financial shape in decades coming off the World Series championship and a home schedule that has seen every game sold out.
This doesn't mean that they should hand out seven-year, $126 million contracts frivolously however. In their position, I think the Giants will be willing to spend a lot of money on an annual basis over a short contract knowing that there is a risk of losing out financially in the short term, but in the long term they will have salary relief and flexibility. Let's face it, any contract in baseball that is three years or longer is a risk given that all baseball contracts are guaranteed.
Carlos Beltran is 34 years old and is still hitting the ball like he did in his late 20s, but the fall could and usually does come quick.
If the Giants can bring him back on a two-year deal with a mutual option for a third at an annual salary of approximately $18 million, I think that's an acceptable risk to take. The question will be whether another team offers more, if so the Giants should walk away.
Assuming the price is right, here are five reasons that the San Francisco Giants should re-sign Carlos Beltran.
The day that Carlos Beltran arrived in the Giants locker room, he talked to Pablo Sandoval and told him he should go to the opposite field more often. That night Sandoval hit an opposite-field home run right down the left field line in Philadelphia.
Since then Sandoval obviously was making a conscious effort to hit the ball to the opposite field. He got slightly derailed with a foot and a shoulder injury shortly after that, but has recovered nicely since those injuries have healed.
I found it very interesting to hear Beltran talking hitting on the Showtime series "The Franchise." His approach of practicing one-handed and always hitting the opposite way in the cage made a lot of sense. Pablo Sandoval is the hitter again that he was in 2009 and is going to get better. I feel like Beltran can help him along that path.
I would assume that the Giants are going to try to assemble a more balanced offense next year. The overall approach of their hitters this year was so aggressive, especially once Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez were lost to injury, that they found themselves in a hole in so many games.
It is OK to have aggressive hitters but they have to be balanced by hitters who work counts and have a good plan at the plate. Posey and Sanchez are expected back at or around the start of the 2012 season, and their presence in the lineup will be noticed. Carlos Beltran would be one more player who is patient and be smart at the plate.
Carlos Beltran's level swing is well suited for the ally's at AT&T Park
Bringing Carlos Beltran back on the type of contract I described in the opening slide would benefit a team that does not have a prospect waiting for his shot at the big leagues. Beltran could be a productive place holder while the Giants try to develop a young player to follow him after two or three years.
I expect a shakeup of the current outfielders on the roster this winter.
Cody Ross is a nice role player and very streaky. He made $6.3 million in 2011 and will be a free agent for the first time this November. The Giants will do well to let him go to another team.
Andres Torres made $2.2 million in 2011 and has two more years of arbitration left. Regardless of his stats this year, he will get a raise in arbitration and is a non-tender candidate for the Giants after the season.
If I am correct and those two players leave along with Aaron Rowand, the Giants will suddenly be very thin in the outfield. I think Nate Schierholtz has finally convinced Bruce Bochy he can play every day, and even if they do bring Torres back to compete for a starting job in the spring, they will need a middle-of-the-order bat who plays an outfield position, that's Carlos Beltran.
The Giants gave up top prospect Zack wheeler to land Carlos Beltran
When Brian Sabean traded Zack Wheeler for Carlos Beltran it was a high-risk, potential high-reward move. Most professional baseball analysts were convinced that Beltran was the Giants' ticket back to the World Series, and if that was the case, the trade would have instantly paid off.
Things didn't work out the way that Sabean or anyone else affiliated with the Giants hoped and yet Zack Wheeler isn't coming back. Even as they stand today, 7.5 games behind a surging Arizona team and seemingly dead in the pennant race, I still think the trade was a good one. I also don't think that Sabean needs to do anything to justify the trade just because they most likely will miss the postseason.
That having been said, if the price is right it would be nice to get a couple of more years of production out of the man that took a top pitching prospect to acquire.
Giants fans can only imagine how potent their offense could be with both Buster Posey and Carlos Bltran in the line up
The Giants had to piece together some semblance of a batting order the majority of the time in 2011, a batting order that mostly scared no one.
With Beltran back in the Giants line up in 2011, the No. 2 through 5 spots in the lineup would be Freddy Sanchez, Buster Posey, Carlos Beltran and Pablo Sandoval. Those four hitters, if healthy, would rival any other lineup in the league at those positions in the order.
There will be other power options available to the Giants in the free-agent market, but they will all command more years than the Giants should be comfortable handing out. Carlos Beltran would be a nice, second-tier free-agent pickup, despite his age...if the price is right.