Friday, December 6, 2013

Beltran Replaces Cano in Pinstripes

Trading Places: NY Edition

After seemingly out of the Carlos Beltran free agent sweepstakes, the Yankees have reportedly signed the veteran outfielder to a three-year, $45MM deal. Obstensibly, Beltran and Alfonso Soriano would split time between RF and DH if the Yankees stick to their public statement that Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury would start off the lineup as a pair of table setters.

Beltran was a member of the NL pennant winning St. Louis Cardinals in 2013 after he put together his eighth All-Star season.  He finished the year with 24 HR, 87 RBI, and an .830 OPS. The switch-hittter, who will be joining his sixth organization, has built a remarkable post-season resume. The native of Puerto Rico has hit 16 home runs and driven in 40 runs in 51 post-season contests, with an 1.128 OPS to boot.

Beltran's defense is not above average as it once was and neither are his knees, but he could fill some of the void created when Robinson Cano bolted for the Seattle Mariners earlier on Friday. The Yankees now have six outfielders on the Major League roster- Gardner, Ellsbury, Beltran, Soriano, Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki.

Wells will likely be released since he has no impact on the team's luxury tax. Suzuki is owed $6.5MM and doesn't have much left in his bat. He'll be difficult to move and the Yankees could very well be stuck with him. At the very least they would have to pay half his salary if they find a suitor.

I originally thought Gardner might be dealt when Ellsbury was signed, then I read the front office wanted the pair setting the table  in the 1-2 spots in the order. However, Gardner may still be used to acquire a starting pitcher wtih the Yankees possibly relying on a youngster like Zoilo Almonte.

The Yankees said they would spend a lot of money this off-season, but I'm not so sure how wisely they're doing it. Perhaps at the trade deadline the Yankees can deal A-Rod back to Seattle for Cano.

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