The New York Yankees have never been strangers in the past to giving big contracts to free agents, and this year is no exception. The Yankees continued their spending spree this offseason on Friday night, when they signed Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million contract as they continue to bolster what was a less than stellar offense last season. The steady and reliable Beltran is an excellent signing by the Yankees’ front office, and one which fans should applaud.
Of course, there will always be people who will bash the decisions a team makes no matter what that team does, but in a perfect world, this move by the Yankees in bringing Beltran to the Bronx would, and should, get little criticism. There will be plenty of people who will argue that the Yankees made a mistake by caving in and giving a 36-year-old player, who will turn 37 in April, a three-year contract, and in most cases they would have a fair point. However, when it comes to Beltran, the Yankees made a calculated decision, and in the end, made the right move based off of what they will be asking Beltran to do for the team.
Yes, Beltran will be 40 during the majority of the last year of this contract, but the Yankees are not asking him to be Superman and play center field every day and bat cleanup. They are only asking Beltran to patrol what is one of the smallest right fields in the game, and probably bat in front of Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann. Even when Beltran is playing in pinstripes during his age 39 and 40 seasons, he should be able to navigate right field while not being a defensive liability. They are also getting a player in Beltran, despite having issues with his knees in the past, who has played in at least 142 games for the last three consecutive seasons.
Not only has Beltran stayed healthy, he has also produced with his bat. During the past three seasons, Beltran has been extremely consistent at the plate, batting .288/.356/.503 while averaging 26 home runs, 88 RBI, and 80 runs scored. That is a big enough sample for the Yankees to be confident that Beltran has gotten past those knee problems he had while on the New York Mets and will continue to be a productive and valuable player. Even when Beltran inevitably needs a couple days off from playing right field, the Yankees can still put him in the lineup as a designated hitter with the outfield depth they now have at their disposal in Jacoby Ellsbury, Alfonso Soriano, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki. The Yankees can even trade either Gardner or Ichiro and still have four outfielders, allowing Beltran to be the DH and stay fresh. There may be Yankees fans who don’t like the deal now, but they will warm up to Beltran fast.