Archive for MLB Hot Stove

Carlos Beltran and the Cardinals a Good Fit?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2011 by Travis Green

There comes a time in a player’s career when money isn’t the only concern, a championship becomes a big part of it too.

Many players make it in and out of the league with out ever getting to try on that championship ring. Money can buy you a lot of things, but a World Series memory is not one of them.

Carlos Beltran has made an estimated $135 million in his 13 year career. But one thing Beltran has never done, win a World Series.

At the age of 34 Beltran is no longer in his prime years, he is no longer looking to sign the deal that will set him and his family up for life, it’s now about one thing and that is to play for a winning team and come away with some hardware.

Carlos Beltran is a lifetime .283 hitter with an average of 28 HR and 105 RBI’s. His average WAR (Wins above replacements) is 4.3, which a pretty good number. Last year in 142 games Beltran hit 22 HR and 81 RBIs while batting .300. While those numbers are not off the wall remember Beltran wasn’t hitting in the middle of lineups loaded with talent, nor was he hitting in hitter-friendly ballparks, having to play his home games in the cool air of San Francisco or the big ballpark in the Big Apple.

Injuries are always the question surrounding Carlos Beltran, but his production when he is on the field speaks for itself.

Beltran’s market for teams has been slow to develop, with the Rockies joining in the hunt yesterday according to Jon Heyman. Other sources report the Boston Red Sox have interest in the 34-year-old native of Puerto Rico.

John Mozeliak and the Cardinals are in a unique situation, they have the money to spend and the team that could appeal to a Carlos Beltran.

There is no official word on how much the Beltran camp is seeking, but some sources have it at a one year deal for $12 million or 2 years for around $20 million. If these numbers are true the Cardinals would be crazy not to put a call into Dan Lozano, Beltran’s agent, and begin to negotiate.

The Cardinals are in need of a little more security in the middle of their lineup, as well as some depth in the outfield. With OF Allen Craig out 4-6 month recovering from knee surgery, the Cardinals option in the outfield are Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Skip Schumaker, Adron Chambers, and Eric Komatsu, recently acquired through the rule 5 draft from Washington. This is of course assuming Lance Berkman is the successor to Albert Pujols’ vacancy at first base.

With those options in the OF on opening day the Cardinals can boost morale throughout the clubhouse and fan base with one simple, but not exasperating offer to Beltran.

The Cardinals are clearly not in the hunt for Prince Fielder, and with Jose Reyes off the market, the next best option on the market that fits their need is Carlos Beltran. A two-year $20-22 million contract with incentives would be a deal that may work for both Beltran and the Cardinals.

First for Beltran, it puts him in a place for more than one year, something many players passed the age of 34 seem to really push for. The deal would also him to settle into a lineup surrounded by other talent such as Holliday, Molina, Jay, Freese, and let’s not forget former teammate Lance Berkman. He could comfortably fit in and not be “the guy” like he may have been in San Fran and New York. Beltran would also be put into a winning situation. The Cardinals are coming off a 2011 World Series title, and regain ace Adam Wainwright. Even with the subtraction of Albert Pujols the Cardinals are the early favorites to win the N.L. Central, which give Beltran a chance at the hardware. Finally Beltran would be back in the Central somewhere he has played before, he knows how the parks play, and he knows the opposing teams, but more important throughout the NL Central the ballparks are a lot more hitter friendly which can only help the aging slugger.

For the Cardinals, this is a deal that will help settle fans down after the loss of Albert Pujols. It will show the dedicated fan base that the Cardinals are still focused on winning, and that they will not go into a shell much like the Pittsburgh Pirates did after losing Bonds. The signing would also help take some of the pressure that will be put on Berkman, Holliday, Freese, and Craig mainly to pick up the slack left behind by Pujols. The Cardinals are without Allen Craig until at least April, maybe dragging into May. Can they rely on an often injured Allen Craig? Can the rely on an aging Lance Berkman? Is Matt Holliday going to put up Albert Pujols type numbers? What about David Freese? Is he the real deal, after his showcase in the World Series? And if he is, can he stay off the disabled list? All these questions can not be answered right now, but the Cardinals can help alleviate some of the pain if one of them do get answers, and not in a good way.

Lance Berkman played in 145 games last year, Tony La Russa knew how to keep him fresh, can the Cardinals do that with the current team roster? Jon Jay at times looked lost at the plate and needed a day or two off can they do that and not feel the lack of production with the current roster? Allen Craig played in 75 games last year, and is injured to start the season, is it reasonable to think that he will jump right in after the recovery and be an impact player? And finally David Freese played in 97 games last year can the Cardinals rely on him to be healthy and make up for the production missed by the absence of number 5? And if Freese is healthy his production is higher when batting sixth than it is when batting 5th, so is batting Freese 5th best option for the Cardinals?

Carlos Beltran can start in RF, play CF when Jay needs a day off. And when Berkman needs a day off Craig is there to fill that role. Craig can still get ABs with the aging Berkman and Beltran in the lineup, as well as spelling Holliday and Jay throughout the season. The Cardinals need protection in the middle of the lineup – Beltran adds it, Cardinals need depth in the OF – Beltran adds it, and the Cardinals need more pop off the bench with the signing of Beltran in essence – Beltran add its.

This is a match made in “Baseball Heaven.”

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