It is no secret that the Boston Red Sox are heavily pursuing right fielder Carlos Beltran. In fact, The Boston Herald‘s Scott Lauber tweeted on November 19 that the discussions have turned more aggressive and have become “serious dialogue” between the two sides as I discussed on Sports Injury Alert.
— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) November 19, 2013
Lauber discusses the details in The Boston Globe, stating that even though they have talked extensively, “indications are that the sides are nowhere close to a deal.” General manager Ben Cherington should get the two sides close to a deal. If he can work out the three-year deal that Beltran seeks, then he can add the powerful switch hitting outfielder to the roster. The hold up is apparently that Cherington wants a two-year contract.
Beltran will turn 37 just after the new season starts. He may have a tough time getting that three-year contract, so Red Sox fans should hope that he is flexible enough to listen to Cherington’s offer. I doubt that Beltran will get a raise or even match the $13 million per year that he received from the St. Louis Cardinals for the past two years, but he should still get a very nice sum. Perhaps a good amount of money over two years would entice Beltran to consider.
Beltran showed that he is still very durable and productive. With the Cardinals for the past two years, Beltran averaged 148 games, a .282/.343/.493 slash line, 28 HR, 90 RBI, and a 3.1 WAR. He made the National League All-Star team both years. His postseason production is even more impressive: .333/.345/.683 with 16 HR and 40 RBI in 51 games. His 2013 postseason average was down a bit to .267, but he still hit two home runs and drove in 15 runs in 17 games.
Beltran also plays a respectable right field. However, in Fenway Park, left field may suit him better. There is much less ground to cover in left field, and Beltran is intelligent enough to learn to play the ball off the Big Green Monster in a short amount of time. He also still has a strong enough arm to hold hitters to singles when they hit that wall. Remember, Manny Ramirez played that wall for 7-1/2 years, and he was nowhere near the fielder that Beltran is.
Agreed, Beltran no longer runs like he used to. He will not replace Jacoby Ellsbury‘s speed by stealing 52 bases. Beltran used to steal 30-40 bases earlier in his career, but after knee problems started in 2009 and surgery followed in early 2010, he just does not run much anymore. Still, he would make a fine #2 or #3 hitter, and with David Ortiz hitting behind him, he would score his share of runs.
Cherington should absolutely do what he can to sign Beltran. Cherington expects center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to take his services elsewhere. Stephen Drew will most certainly walk. Mike Napoli will, too, as well as Jarrod Saltalamacchia. That is a lot of offense to replace. Beltran would help start the process. A two-year contract is good, but if it takes a three-year deal, then Cherington should do it. He can trade Beltran before or during that third year if necessary. The pitching was very good, but Red Sox won this year with offense. They will lose a large amount of it to free agency, so Cherington can replace some of it right now by signing Carlos Beltran.