Blog Entry

Beltran talks hot, Indians now in mix

Posted on: December 21, 2011 7:47 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 12:57 am
Carlos Beltran continues to sort through interest from at least five clubs -- maybe more -- and hopes to make a decision by Christmas, sources with knowledge of the discussions say.

The Cardinals, Blue Jays, Red Sox and Rays were all said to be "in the mix" on Wednesday, and talks were heating up. By Wednesday night, the Indians had joined them in serious talks with the free agent outfielder.

Beltran is said to have offers for both two and three years, with the dollars varying significantly. He earned $20 million last season in the final summer of a seven-year, $119 million deal.

At this point, the six-time All-Star appears to be weighing his preferred city (cities?) against average annual value (AAV) in yearly salary. The many American League clubs involved suggest that, at this point in his career, teams view Beltran more as a designated hitter than as an everyday outfielder.

While Beltran still prefers the outfield, one source close to him said Wednesday that he would be open to DH'ing part-time.

One team that probably would offer Beltran the most time in the outfield is St. Louis. The Cardinals have been aggressive all along, especially since Albert Pujols signed with the Angels. St. Louis figures to move Lance Berkman to first base and go with Allen Craig in right field, with Matt Holliday in left and Jon Jay in center field. Beltran could mix in both in center and right in a rotating Cardinals cast.

Beltran has intrigued the Blue Jays all winter -- enough, according to a source, that their pursuit remained unchanged after it was revealed this week that the Rangers had won the posting for Japanese free agent pitcher Yu Darvish. In other words, did the Blue Jays, who were believed to be knee-deep in the Yarvish bidding, up their ante after losing the pitcher? No, they've been aggressive all along.

In Toronto, Beltran projects more as a DH-type, because the Jays, of course, have Jose Bautista in right field and Colby Rasmus in center. As of now, they've got newly acquired Ben Francisco, Travis Snider or Eric Thames in left field. Beltran has played very little left field in his career.

The Red Sox have had an exceptionally quiet off-season, losing closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Phillies and so far failing to add any significant pieces. They have been looking for a bat to lengthen their lineup, and with right-fielder J.D. Drew gone, Beltran makes some sense in Boston. Right field can be demanding in Fenway Park, however, with the configuration of the fence, and David Ortiz is back as the Red Sox DH.

Tampa Bay, on a tight budget, needs help at both first base and DH, where Johnny Damon got most of the at-bats last year.

The Indians have been scrounging around for ways to improve their offense all winter, and their late entry into the Beltran talks Wednesday added intrigue as the outfielder moves toward making a final decision. Cleveland has been a distant admirer before -- the Indians spoke with the Mets last July about acquiring him in a deal. Beltran had no-trade powers then and, eventually, approved a deal to San Francisco. The Giants talked about bringing him back early in the off-season but scotched that idea fairly quickly because of a tight budget.

Adding Beltran not only would give Cleveland another potent bat that it seeks, but also depth behind center fielder Grady Sizemore. Banged up severely in recent years, Sizemore has undergone five surgeries in the past two seasons, including one to fix a microfracture in his knee. The Indians are set at the corner outfield spots with Mickey Brantley and Shin Soo-Choo, and at DH with Travis Hafner.

Now 34, Beltran batted .300 with 22 homers, 84 RBI and a .385 on-base percentage in 142 games last summer for the Mets and Giants. He's had serious knee issues in the past but was strong enough to produce an All-Star season in 2011.

The Rockies also were talking with Beltran, but earlier this week they signed former Minnesota Twin Michael Cuddyer to a three-year, $31.5 million deal.

Since: Dec 14, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:20 am

Beltran talks hot, Indians now in mix

I don't see why he would go to Toronto, they have a crowded OF and really, you are going to finish 4th place...pretty much every year.
Cleveland? Pass.

St. Louis makes a lot of sense and they need him. Add him to the lineup and it helps ease (a little) the stats they have already lost from Pujols jumping. BUT...3-years and crazy money makes me nervous.

Since: Jun 13, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 6:00 am

Beltran talks hot, Indians now in mix

Had him as a member of one of my fantasy teams last year & I must say his numbers surprised me in a positive way.Wasn't as productive in S.F.but he still produced when he played the OF for the Mets.That was a huge surprise for me.He dispelled any talk of him not being an OF any more.I was one of the loudest voices saying he'd need to go to an AL team where he could DH.He proved me wrong & any NL team looking for veteran help in CF can have faith putting him out there.You could sit him during a day game after a night game & he'll probably wind up with similar Gms.Played as last season. 

Since: Dec 14, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 1:48 am

Beltran talks hot, Indians now in mix

thedonald15 is right...adding Beltran gives St. Louis extraordinary options for the outfield.  You could even consider Berkman for the occasional start and certainly keep Schumaker in that mix for late inning defense. Besides, giving Beltran a two or three year contract is way less ridiculous than selling the farm to keep AP. 

After all, Beltran is 34 and AP is somewhere between 32 and 35 (my guess is towards the latter number)...Beltran should still produce power, ribbies and an avg in the .280-.300 area.  He is a switch hitter (as is Berkman) and with Holliday in between (assuming Beltran is in the third slot) will not allow the other managers easy relief decisions. Although his presence in the line-up will never present the ulcers for the opposition as did AP's, he still will provide a force that will require careful consideration. 

Lastly, if he falls off near the end of his contract, he will be but a memory as AP is soaking the Angels ownership, amongst fans that will be unforgiving as he ages, because they won't have the last eleven years of heroics to consider.  After all, it's the same town where you'd best not wear a jersey of the other team or you might end up beaten almost to death !!! 

Since: Mar 27, 2009
Posted on: December 22, 2011 1:43 am

Beltran talks hot, Indians now in mix

The Indians are set at the corner outfield spots with Mickey Brantley and Shin Soo-Choo, and at DH with .

Uhhhh..... I think you must mean Michael Brantley, not Mickey.  I don't see the Indians dropping 30M on this guy for 2 years (if he would even sign for a 2 yr. deal).  Should have just gone after Willingham or Cuddyer if they were going to spend that kind of money. My money is on St. Louis to sign him, but don't count out the Blue Jays.

Since: Oct 15, 2006
Posted on: December 21, 2011 10:48 pm

Beltran said to be moving closer to decision

Given the way the Cards handled (i.e. bungled) the Pujols free agency, I suspect their "serious" interest in Beltran means they offered him $35k for 1 year.

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: December 21, 2011 10:26 pm

Beltran said to be moving closer to decision

San Francisco? That's a homer joke right? You must still believe in Santa if you think that'll happen.

Since: Jul 24, 2007
Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:44 pm

Beltran said to be moving closer to decision

Beltran will be in a SF uniform when the season opens.

Since: Jul 16, 2008
Posted on: December 21, 2011 9:31 pm

Beltran said to be moving closer to decision

This would make a top tier outfield rotation for the Cardinals.  Beltran provides the fill in bat with the Angels picking up AP.  If the Big Puma keeps his weight off as he did last season, his lower back problems should be minimal playing 1B for an entire season giving him another stellar season with Pujols gone.  

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or