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Rumors and Chatter: Beltran to the Yankees?

The first acquisition rumors of the offseason are starting to fly and Carlos Beltran’s name is being mentioned as a possible option for the Yankees in 2012.

Beltran is coming off a solid year where he hit .300/.385/.525 with 39 2B, 6 3B, 22 HR, and 84 RBI. Beltran’s 2011 line is above his career line of .283/.361/.496, but his production numbers are down from his 162-game average of 28 HR and 105 RBI.

If the Yankees were to make a move to land Beltran he would likely replace Nick Swisher who has reached the end of his contract  but has a club option for the 2012 season. Swish was right in line with his career numbers this season, putting up a .260/.374/.449 line and showing some power with 30 2B, 23 HR, and 85 RBI. Swish is also more stirkeout prone than Beltran – racking up 125 K to Beltran’s 88.

So would Beltran be a solid improvement to the Yankees outfield if the Yanks choose not to extend Swisher’s option?

Beltran will come at a heftier price than Swisher given that Swisher is coming off a 5 yr/$26.25M contract while Beltran is coming off of a 7 yr/$119M deal. At 34 years old, the Yankees would not be looking at another 7 year deal for Beltran, but something along the lines of 3 years/$42+M would seem probable. On the other hand, the Yankees could extend the 30-year old  Swisher for $14-$17M less over the same time period, especially if they use his poor postseason performance as leverage.

Personally, I’m inclined to say that the Yankees should use this opportunity to lock up Swisher at a relatively cheap price for the next few years. I just don’t see Beltran as an upgrade that would justify the type of money he and Scott Boras will no doubt be looking for. But hey, it’s early, and this is just the beginning of what will become a whirlwind of rumors over the next few months.

So what do you think – Beltran or Swisher? Or a third option? Let us know in the comments!

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