Carlos Beltran is a borderline Hall of Famer. I don’t think he would get my vote, especially with the current surplus of deserving players on the ballot, but he is certainly worthy of review and discussion. It’s possible that after taking that hard look at his career I might change my mind. One thing that will certainly hurt his chances is if he can no longer produce at the major league level. Something that seemed like a sure thing just a few months ago, now appears up for debate.
After finishing the 2013 season as an All-Star with the St. Louis Cardinals sporting a .296 average, 24 home runs, 84 RBI and 2.4 WAR, Beltran signed a three-year deal with the Yankees. The Bombers opted to act quickly on Beltran, a player who they almost signed before the 2005 off-season, rather than wait out the negotiations with the younger, quicker, better Shin Soo Choo. While the tactic seems very questionable now, it could at least be defended over the winter. The Yankees wanted to turn the page quickly after their best player, Robinson Cano, signed with the Seattle Mariners, and Beltran had just completed his third injury-free and productive year in a row.
However, he was certainly still an injury risk and certainly still very old. He is 37-years-old in the first year of the deal. This season he has already spent time on the DL, a place Yankee fans can expect to see the aging rightfielder quite a bit over the course of the contract. He came off the DL this week but still cannot play the field or throw a baseball, regulating him to DH duties. Of course, that would be fine if Beltran was hitting.
Beltran is 1 for 11 since coming off the disabled list. His lone hit was an RBI double in last night’s contest. He is currently hitting .223 on the year with five home runs and sixteen RBIs. His has accumulated a -0.1 WAR thus far in 2014. He has been dropped in the order from the third spot to the fifth. He struggled even before he got hurt. His last home run came on April 22.
The Yankees now have an aging right fielder who can’t throw a baseball, regulated to DH duty when he is not hitting, and signed for two more seasons after this one. About the only thing Beltran has going for him at the moment is that some of his teammates (Alfonso Soriano, Derek Jeter, Brian Roberts, et al) have struggled even worse than he has. That said, Soriano, Jeter and Roberts won’t be playing in the Bronx next year. Barring a trade, Beltran will be. At least when he isn’t on the DL.