Hard to believe if you’ve been watching the playoffs this year, but Carlos Beltran is hitting just .207 this postseason. Why is that hard to believe? Because he’s slugging .483 and seems to get a big hit in every big at-bat. He’s legitimately one of baseball’s best-ever postseason hitters, and if you don’t buy into the reliability of October numbers, Beltran has also hit .282/.343/.493 the past two seasons in St. Louis.
Which might make him a terrific fit for the Yankees.
Unless you’re sold on the platoon combo of Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells — and if so, you’re a part of a small club — the Yankees need a right fielder, and Beltran could a perfect switch-hitting fit. Our friend Mark Feinsand reports that the Yankees are interested, and the interest is mutual:
A source familiar with Beltran’s thinking said the 36-year-old — he’ll turn 37 in April — would be interested in a potential move to the Bronx, where he could step in as the primary right fielder while getting some turns as the designated hitter to keep his body fresh.
A few reasons Beltran makes sense:
• Having Ichiro and Wells is actually helpful in this situation, giving the Yankees a pair of role players who can fill-in as right fielders, letting Beltran get regular turns at DH. If those two aren’t doing the job, then part-time jobs open for unproven young players like Zoilo Almonte and Ronnier Mustelier.
• Beltran is 36, but the power is still there. He hit 24 home runs this year and 32 last year. Plus, he’s a switch hitter, so he’ll be able to take advantage of Yankee Stadium’s short right field against right-handers. And the Yankees could certainly use some additional power.
• Coming off a two-year, $26 million contract, Beltran’s not going to come cheap, but he shouldn’t require unthinkable money either. Even cutting payroll, the Yankees should have room in the budget for at least one contract like this.
Of course, a lot of this could hinge on Curtis Granderson. Assuming the Yankees give Granderson a qualifying offer, there would be at least some chance he’d accept, and if Granderson is back at roughly $14 million, then the outfield would be full and I’m not sure it would make sense to spend on Beltran to be a regular DH.
And obviously there’s a downside to Beltran. He would give the Yankees yet another late-30s outfielder, and injuries should be a real concern.
But he’s a productive bat, and he could finally be an actual fit in the Bronx.
Associated Press photo