The only thing that was missing at Major League Baseball’s trade was Monty Hall to describe all of the wheeling at dealing that took place.
After 19 years as a Major League Baseball player, 2016 could be the swan song for New York Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran. Beltran made his MLB debut in 1998 as a member of the Kansas City Royals, and he would go on to be named as the American League Rookie of the Year in 1999 by batting .293 with 22 home runs, 108 runs batted in, and 27 stolen bases. Beltran would continue to put up solid numbers on bad Royals teams until he was traded to the Houston Astros in 2004. In 90 games with the Astros that year, Beltran would hit 23 home runs as he was vital to the team’s first trip to the National League Championship Series since 1986.
After tying a single-season postseason record by hitting 8 home runs, Beltran embarked on free agency where the New York Mets came calling. The Mets and Beltran would come to an agreement on a seven-year deal that was worth $119 million. Beltran’s best season with the Mets came in 2006 when he batted .275 with 116 runs batted in, while also tying a single-season franchise record for home runs with 41 as he helped New York win the National League East for the first time in 18 years. But unfortunately for Beltran, his 2006 Major League Baseball season will always be remembered for his striking out with the bases loaded to end the NLCS as the Mets fell to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
Since Beltran’s time with the Mets, he has also played for the San Francisco Giants and Cardinals with his only trip to the World Series coming in 2013 with St. Louis. By the end of 2013, Beltran’s contract with the Cards was up. And at the age of 36 with diminishing defensive skills along with bad knees, Beltran’s wanted to still play, but he was better suited for the American League where he could be used sometimes as a designated hitter.
Beltran would return to the Big Apple, but this time as a member of the New York Yankees on a three-year deal that was worth $45 million. The move brought out the skeptics as it appeared that the Yankees were simply bringing in another aging player to one of the oldest teams in baseball. Beltran didn’t do his part to quiet those skeptics as in his first two years with the Yankees, he only managed to bat .255 with 34 homers. However with 2016 being the final year of Beltran’s contract, along with it possibly being his last go round in Major League Baseball, we are seeing a different player. Through 69 games this year the Yankees are 34-35, but the bigger question is where would this team would be without the contributions of Beltran?
Beltran is leading the Yankees in batting average (.283), home runs (18), and runs batted in (48), while also being a logical candidate to make an All-Star Game appearance for the ninth time in his career. And as the weather has warmed up, so has Beltran.
In May, Beltran batted .276 with 8 home runs and 22 runs batted in, and he isn’t cooling off here in June where he is batting .364 with 6 homers and 17 runs batted in. Earlier this month in a four-game sweep by the Yanks over the Los Angeles Angels, Beltran launched 3 homers while also driving in 8 runs. And as the Yankees won the series this weekend against the Minnesota Twins, it was Beltran once again at the forefront as he hit a home run while driving in a pair of runs in each of the victories for New York.
But with a record of 34-35, it isn’t a guarantee that Beltran will finish the year in Yankee pinstripes. If Yankees general manager Brian Cashman feels that this team isn’t a legitimate contender, he could then wave the white flag and put Beltran on the trade market where there would be plenty of suitors.
If Beltran were to be made available, there could be a reunion with the Royals who are in the market for help in right field as they are looking to repeat as World Series Champions. The Seattle Mariners have not made the playoffs since 2001 which is currently the longest active streak in Major League Baseball, and they could use another bat in the lineup to provide protection for second baseman Robinson Cano and designated hitter Nelson Cruz. The Cleveland Indians are currently in first place in the American League Central, and after losing outfielder Marlon Byrd for 162 games due to testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, the Tribe needs another bat if they want to be serious contenders. And although that Beltran would more than likely merely be a rental through a trade, Cashman could be able to pry away some prospects “if” he is able to get multiple teams interested in his services.
With a lifetime batting average of .281, 410 career home runs, and three Gold Glove Awards, Beltran might not even be up for consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame as he is more of player that belongs in the hall of very good. And there isn’t a problem with that as Beltran has given it all that he has for 19 years which is something that most Major League Baseball players are unable to say. We should be Beltran get one more crack at a World Series ring this October. It’s just a matter of what uniform that he’ll be wearing when October rolls around.