Free Agent Forecast: Carlos Beltran
In terms of individual statistics, Carlos Beltran has done about as much with a big league career as you can. He's an eight-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove award winner. He's had seasons where he hit 40 home runs and he's had seasons with 40 stolen bases. Either way, he's one of the best five-tool players of his generation. The one gaping hole in Beltran's track record, however, is his lack of a World Series title. It's surprising, given his incredible success in the postseason and the fact that he's played in 51 postseason games. He's come so close, having been to four NLCS before finally reaching the World Series in 2013 with the Cardinals only to lose to the Boston Red Sox in six games.
Beltran has slowed down a bit, and is just a slightly less explosive version of his old self. He's not the right fielder he once was and will no longer steal a base, but he still handles a bat as well as anyone in the big leagues from both sides of the plate. He was an All-Star in 2013 with the Cardinals, and hit .296 with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs.
There's no doubt that after Brian McCann -- who the Yankees have already signed -- Beltran is the Yankees' number one target. Obviously Cano is high on the list as well, but I think the Yankees look at Beltran and McCann as pieces that put them in contention, which is something they can bring up in meetings with Cano.
Beltran has always wanted to be a Yankee, and the Yankees have always loved guys that produce in October, so it would seem that this is a match made in heaven. Plus, Beltran has already played in New York for the Mets, where he had three GREAT seasons. I think he has two guys to compete with: Choo and Granderson, but if I had to guess, I would think the Yankees assume they've seen the best years that Granderson has to offer. He's a high power, high strikeout guy whose defensive ability has decreased dramatically. Choo is more likeable to the Yankees because of his ability to get on base, but I think the Yankees still prefer Beltran's experience over both.
The biggest decision the Yankees have to make is whether or not they're willing to give Beltran a three-year deal. He's 36 years old, and the Yankees would undoubtedly prefer two years. But if Beltran doesn't get three years from the Yankees, he may get it from another team.
I see the Yankees eventually folding and giving the Puerto Rican right fielder what he wants. It'll be a three-year deal somewhere in the $30-$40 million range.