While the New York Yankees keep insisting they’re not quitters, their recent trades suggest this trade deadline is about selling, which makes sense. Next up on the order? Carlos Beltran, with the Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers interested in his batting services.
If the Yankees traded away Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman, there’s no way Beltran isn’t available for the right offer. His market is limited – no National League team is looking into him, which makes sense, while the Yankees are pushing the price up by saying they’re not that into trading him, or at least not for anything. They’re looking to upgrade the team going into next season, not simply get rid of someone’s salary for any prospect.
Beltran returned to the All-Star game this season, his 9th selection. The 39-year old, playing in right field or as a designated hitter, is batting .304 (his best since 2011) and posting a very good .890 OPS, also his best since his time with the New York Giants. He has hit 22 home runs, batting in 64 runners, and is enjoying a very good season offensive-wise, while not doing too terribly on defense, which is pretty much all you can ask of him at this point. He does have three gold gloves (2006-2008), but those days are gone.
Beltran is a two-month rental: His $15 million deal ends this season, and there’s about $5.3 million left to pay off of it. Not too heavy, but still a sum that might cause teams to think or twice, or to ask the Yankees to pay a part of it. Besides Beltran’s fantastic season, there are two more factors to consider: He’s a very respected veteran who should help any ballclub that picks him up off the field, and he has fantastic playoff numbers: Batting .332 with a 1.115 OPS, hitting 16 home runs in 52 games.
The Indians have been the most aggressive team on the lookout for a big bat, while the Astros seem to be in the biggest need for one due to their recent form. The Red Sox are probably out of the picture unless they offer something that’s impossible to refuse, while the Rangers seem to be mentioned in almost every possible trade scenario right now, but their main concern is pitching, not lineup improvements.