MLB Rumors: Could the Yankees Opt for Carlos Beltran Instead of Nick Swisher?

Doug RushSenior Analyst IOctober 11, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24:  Carlos Beltran #15 of the San Francisco Giants warms up in the on-deck circle during action against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on September 24, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

One of the biggest downfalls of the Yankees in the 2011 postseason was clutch hitting.

Nick Swisher was one of the guiltiest parties of the Yankees not hitting in the postseason.

While he did hit .260 with 23 home runs and 85 RBI in the regular season, Swisher hit just .211 with one home run, one RBI and five strikeouts in the postseason.

A year ago against the Texas Rangers in the ALCS, Swisher hit .091 with seven strikeouts.

In the 2009 playoffs Swisher hit .083, .150 and .133 in each series with the Yankees.

It's pretty clear that when the games count the most, Swisher falls apart for the Yankees.

And with the Yankees holding a $10.25 million option for 2012, they have a big decision to make on him.

Now, the easy way is exercising the option and trying to live with another year of Swisher.

Sure, he's a good guy, and he's well-liked, but we're not exactly talking about a guy who is lighting it up in October for the Yankees.

And let's be honest, I think after three horrid October's from Swisher, the fans may be getting tired of his act. Being a nice guy just doesn't cut it, especially in New York.

Now, there is another option for the Yankees if they decide not to exercise Swisher's option.

He nearly came to the Yankees in 2005, but headed to the other part of New York. Seven years later, Carlos Beltran could find his way to the Bronx.

Before the 2005 season, the Mets won the free agency bid for Carlos Beltran and for the most part, Beltran put up some solid numbers in Queens.

Beltran had been bothered by nagging injuries in 2009 and 2010, which only allowed him to play in 81 and 64 games respectively.

In 2011, Beltran played in 142 games with the Mets and San Francisco Giants, hit .300 with 22 home runs and 84 RBI while transitioning from center to right field.

The Giants traded for Beltran before the trade deadline to try and bolster their offense, but the former World Series Champions ran out of steam in the second half and fizzled out of the playoff race.

What makes Beltran such an attractive commodity is his ability to get big hits, especially his history in the playoffs.

Back in 2004, the Houston Astros traded for Beltran from the Royals and Beltran hit .455 against the Braves and .417 against the Cardinals with eight home runs and 14 RBI.

Many felt that Beltran alone was going to carry Houston to the World Series that year before the Cardinals got the best of them.

In the 2006 NLCS against the Cardinals, Beltran hit .296 with three home runs and four RBI in their loss to the Cardinals.

When the games mean the most, Beltran still knows how to get big hits, which is why he still has a lot of value this winter.

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06:  Nick Swisher #33 of the New York Yankees reacts after he struck out with the bases loaded to end the bottom of the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee
Nick Laham/Getty Images

And with the Yankees potentially looking to make a change in the outfield, maybe they make a move for Beltran.

Sure, he's not the same player he was back in 2004, when he was 27 years old and entering the prime stages of his career.

But at 34, Beltran still has a lot of value with a bat and as a right fielder and he could be a better glove in the field than Swisher ever was.

Let's face it, Nick Swisher was never winning a Gold Glove in right field for the Yankees. There were games out there that he made it a sheer adventure out there.

Beltran is a three-time Gold Glove winner from when he played center field with the Mets.

Now, I'm not saying we should offer Beltran anything too crazy like a four- or five-year deal.

But something short-term, anything from one to two years or maybe even three, isn't a crazy idea.

On Sunday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post said the Yankees should make a big push to get Beltran.

I think I agree with him.

Put Beltran in Yankee Stadium with the short porch and a ton of protection in the lineup and he could thrive playing for the Yankees.

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 25: Carlos Beltran #15 of the New York Mets drives in the game-tying run in the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/G
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

We know he isn't a stranger to playing in the American League, considering he came up with the Kansas City Royals from 1998 until mid-2004.

And we also know he's not afraid of the bright lights of New York, considering he spent the last six-and-a-half years playing for the Mets.

Beltran has got to know he only has a few years left where he will still be productive enough of a hitter to help a playoff team.

Going to the Yankees could be Beltran's last shot at winning a championship. He came close with the Astros and Mets, reaching the NLCS on two occasions, but never made the World Series.

Maybe Beltran was meant to play October baseball in the Bronx after all.

Only time will tell to see who is manning right field at Yankee Stadium in 2012.