The New York Yankees have signed outfielder Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million contract as a reflex to Friday’s loss of Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners. While Beltran could possibly fill the void left by Cano offensively, the 36-year-old outfielder can’t play second.
Bringing in Beltran solidifies the Yankees outfield for 2014 and determines the destiny for players like Vernon Wells, who is now closer to an inevitable release, and Ichiro Suzuki, who will now serve primarily as a bench player.
After losing Cano, signing Beltran makes complete sense offensively as the eight-time All-Star has found a second life in his career after undergoing knee surgery in 2010. Beltran has averaged 88 RBIs and 26 home runs while playing in over 140 games every season since the surgery. He was able to accomplish this in pitcher-friendly NL ballparks, which proves that coming to the Bronx will only support his recent surge in production.
Though October baseball isn’t a promise quite yet for the Yankees, they are bringing in one of the best postseason hitters in MLB history.
Yankees fans should consider this their early Christmas gift after having to suffer through one of the worst displays of offense in the 2012 playoffs by players like Cano, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher. Beltran has a .333/.445/.683 slash line in the playoffs with 16 home runs and 40 RBIs in 51 games played. If New York can simply make it to the postseason, they will almost be guaranteed production from at least one player, which hasn’t been the case in recent years.
The Yankees’ durability questions can now be put to rest as Beltran will be well-rested due to the outfielder-ridden lineup, and also because of the DH spot. He will fit in nicely to Joe Girardi’s strategy of constantly shuffling defensive lineups because of his experience of playing in every outfield position.
New York has replaced Cano offensively in the best way possible within 24 hours of losing him. However, Beltran doesn’t play the infield. The next move for New York needs to be someone who can play second base 100-plus games to go along with the acquisition on Kelly Johnson. Omar Infante seems to be the best possible free agent if they are to go that route. Or perhaps a trade for Brandon Phillips could be arranged now with a good amount of money still on the table.
There are several options for the Yankees — they just need to choose one and soon. There is no way to replace Cano with one person, but two or three people might be able to lessen the impact of losing such a significant player. The Yanks are far from done with this offseason.