Top 5 Reasons Carlos Beltran Would Fit With the New York Yankees
Carlos Beltran to the New York Yankees
The New York Yankees made their first move in the offseason by re-signing Joe Girardi to a four-year deal. Now that they have their manager locked down, it’s time to turn their attention to the guys on the field.
Carlos Beltran is reportedly interested in the coming to the Bronx. He’s flirted with the Yankees in free agency twice before. The first time, the Yankees still had Bernie Williams. The second, they were committed to Nick Swisher. The third time might be the charm.
Many believe this would be a wrong move for the Bombers, not because Beltran is a bad player, but because there could be better options. Signing Beltran would only increase New York’s reliance on aging free agents rather than pursuing younger talent that could provide more longevity to the organization.
Jacoby Ellsbury, for instance, is arguably the best outfielder who’s a free agent at the end of this year. The 23-year-old wreaks havoc on the bases with his speed and provides gold glove caliber defense in center field. However, he’s been injury-prone throughout his career and with Scott Boras as his agent it’ll cost a fortune to sign him (this is why the Boston Red Sox are willing to let him go).
Another option is Shin-Soo Choo. The 31 year old would be much more affordable than Ellsbury or Beltran and his lefty bat could be the perfect fit for Yankee Stadium. But he’s said he wants to stay with the Cincinnati Reds.
They could also bring back Curtis Granderson.
Though I’d like to see the Yankees commit to younger players, Beltran would by no means be a poor addition. These are the top five reasons Beltran is a good fit for the New York Yankees.
5. No One Better On the Roster
Brian Cashman has repeatedly stated that his job is to acquire the best available option at each position. This is why he claims he doesn’t want Alex Rodriguez to get suspended even though it would save the organization $25 million. Cashman contends the Yankees don’t have anyone better to play third base so it’s not worth losing the talent even if it means saving the salary.
The same logic applies to Beltran – the Yankees don’t have anyone better. As of now, their outfielders in 2014 are Alfonso Soriano, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells. Soriano has demonstrated he’s still got a lot left in the tank, and Gardner was arguably the second best player on the team in 2013, behind Robinson Cano. Soriano and Gardner will play left field and center field, respectively, in 2014.
But there’s a gaping hole in right field. Suzuki’s batting average dropped .60 points from 2012 to 2013 and Wells went ice cold after a fast start this year. Both are on the decline in their careers. Beltran, however, has had back-to-back All-Star seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. Over the last two years, he’s hit 56 homers and driven in 181 runs, and his numbers could potentially increase in Yankee Stadium.
4. Experience in New York
Almost every time a player signs with New York, one of the most common questions is, “will he be able to deal with the pressure, the media and the spotlight?” We already know Beltran is capable because he’s done it already. When the Yankees didn’t pursue Beltran in 2005, he signed their cross-town rivals, the New York Mets.
True, there might be more pressure to win in the Bronx, but based on his first successful tour in the Big Apple, it’s nothing he can’t handle.
3. Switch Hitter
2013 could go down in Yankees history as the, “year of the platoon,” as every position besides second base was done by committee. Granderson, Wells and Suzuki all saw time in right field this year based on whether the opposing starting pitcher was a lefty or a righty.
They wouldn’t have to worry about platooning Beltran because he’s a switch hitter. The Yankees wouldn’t be signing him to only play half the time when there’s a favorable pitching matchup. He’ll be in the starting lineup regardless of whether they’re facing a southpaw, northpaw, eastpaw or westpaw.
2. The Designated Hitter
One legitimate argument against signing Beltran is his age. He’ll be 37 at the start of next season. However, there’s a huge advantage to joining an AL team which can account for this – the designated hitter. Anyone who’s been watching the playoffs knows Beltran can still rake. If he joins the Yankees, they can rest him without losing his bat in the lineup by slotting him into the DH spot.
When he does play the field, Yankee Stadium has one of the smallest right fields in baseball. Even if Beltran has lost a step from his center field days, he’s more than capable of covering the ground, especially with the ball-hawking Gardner in center to run down any shots in the gap.
1. Postseason Production
The best reason to sign Beltran is how he steps up his game in the postseason. After all, that’s what being a Yankee is all about. The fan base will like a player for producing in the regular season: they’ll buy his t-shirt, inch up in their seats when he steps into the batter’s box and maybe chant a little louder during the roll call. But they love players for coming through in October. I’m talking legendary status: like chanting his name for the entire ninth inning in his final home start (Paul O’Neill) or cheering for him later in his career after he hits a homerun for another team (Tino Martinez).
The point is the Yankees care most about how well a guy plays in October. Beltran’s a career .327 hitter in the playoffs with 16 homeruns and 35 RBI. Though he’s made his career elsewhere, Beltran will fit right in if he comes to the Bronx.
Of course, the Yankees will have to get to the postseason first.