Carlos Beltran is heading back to New York, but Queens isn't his destination: Beltran is heading to the Bronx, agreeing to a three-year, $45 million contract with the Yankees.
Beltran is the second outfielder signed by the Yankees this week, following in the footsteps of former Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who inked a seven-year contract with the Bronx Bombers on Tuesday night. Beltran's signing comes on the same day that Robinson Cano spurned the Yankees to sign a ten-year deal with Seattle.
In 2013 with the Cardinals, the 36-year old Beltran hit .296/.339/.491 with 24 homers. But Beltran began to tire in the second half, and his OPS dropped more than 100 points after the All-Star Break. He's a different player than he was with the Mets, as his speed is gone (15 total stolen bases over the last two years) and his once elite-defense can now only play in a corner – and not too well, if the defensive metrics are to be believed.
Yet, in this market, $15 million per season is a reasonable price for him. I'm actually not sure the Yankees are the best fit following the Ellsbury signing, however. They now have six outfielders signed for next year, with Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, Ichiro, and Brett Gardner joining the newly-signed Ellsbury and Beltran, not to mention utility player Kelly Johnson. A move is bound to happen to clear some roster space, and if I were a betting man, I'd wager that the Yankees simply ate the rest of Wells' contract and walked away from him and shopped Gardner for some pitching.
I don't think this contact is a slam dunk for the Yankees. Giving three years and eight figures per to a guy who will be 37 in April is always risky, and Beltran is already showing signs of decline. The club managed to get a little younger by signing Ellsbury and Brian McCann, but they still need a second baseman, and now might have to cut bait with their youngest outfielder to help bolster their pitching staff.