Whenever the season ends for the St. Louis Cardinals, their 36-year-old outfielder Carlos Beltran will be a free agent. The New York Yankees should try to snatch him up for at least the 2014 season. Of course the Cardinals would like to retain him, he is one of their most productive players and is one of the best postseason hitters of all time, but they have the uncanny ability to retool through their farm system every year. Last season, Allen Craig stood in for a player who was once thought irreplaceable, Albert Pujols, and this year, when Craig ended up getting hurt down the stretch, Matt Adams took over the first-base role and the Cardinals didn’t lose a beat. I’ve also heard that they could keep Adams at first next year and put Craig in the outfield, thus making Beltran expendable.
The Yankees have many needs to fill this offseason, most notably, Robinson Cano, who will undoubtedly get the biggest contract ever for a second baseman. With so much payroll going in Cano’s direction, they can’t sign other free agents, ahem, Curtis Granderson, who is four years younger than Beltran and would most likely want a long-term deal.
Beltran could be signed for a one or two-year contract, and even though getting an older player might not be in the Yankees’ best interests, Beltran could benefit from the Yankees plethora of outfielders. He could fit in a rotation with Alfonso Soriano, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki, as well as have a half-day off with the designated-hitter position, something the National League sorely lacks. Beltran has had injury issues in his past, and making a change to the American League could help him stay healthy and expand the longevity of his career.
If nothing else sells the Yanks, it should be his playoff stats, which are almost exactly the same as Babe Ruth’s were, and the Yankees don’t miss the postseason two years in a row — it just doesn’t happen. So why not take a shot on an outfielder who is as clutch as they come in the most crucial situations. Signing Beltran would be a better investment than players they have in the past like Nick Swisher who came up small every time the lights got bright in October. The Yankees are championship-or-bust every year and the last time they missed the playoffs, they spent like crazy and ended up winning it all the following year; do what works, spend some money on a proven commodity, because watching baseball in October without the Yankees in it is sacrilegious.