Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/15/13
Baseball’s newest Mr. October could be a Yankee next year. Carlos Beltran who has become one of the most clutch players in postseason history (except for that one night at Shea) could be on the Yankees’ radar this winter a move the former Met sources say would strongly consider. According to multiple sources the Yankees could be in the market for an outfielder this winter as they look to add some pop to a lineup that finished next-to-last in the American League in home runs and 10th in runs scored. Beltran would fit the bill having averaged 28 homers during his past two seasons in St. Louis and 24 per year since making his full-time debut in 1999. 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. Beltran has shown interest in being a Bomber before. In 2005 he reportedly went to the Yankees with a last-ditch discount proposal before signing with the Mets. He reportedly did the same in 2011 before signing his two-year deal with St. Louis. Both times the Yanks weren’t interested. With Bernie Williams still patrolling center field the Yankees opted not to bid on Beltran following the 2004 season. When he became a free agent after the 2011 season Beltran was again interested in the Yankees but his injury issues and a club-friendly option for Nick Swisher prompted the Bombers to pass once again. Now following two All-Star seasons with the Cardinals — and another impressive postseason run he hopes extends for another two weeks — might Beltran and the Yanks finally become a match? The Yankees have Alfonso Soriano Brett Gardner Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells signed for 2014 leaving Soriano and Gardner the likely starters in left and center respectively. Right field is murkier. Ichiro started 126 games in the outfield last season (109 in right field) hitting .262/.297/.342 with seven home runs and 35 RBI. Wells filled in admirably during the first six weeks of the season hitting .301/.357/.538 with 10 homers and 23 RBI in 38 games. But his production fell off the cliff during the final four-plus months as he posted a .199/.243/.253 line with one home run and 27 RBI in 92 games. The Yankees’ right fielders combined for a .655 OPS in 2013 last among the 15 AL clubs while their 13 homers ranked 12th. Beltran would represent a significant upgrade; his .830 OPS would have ranked third among all AL right fielders with at least 500 plate appearances and his 24 homers would have tied for fourth-best. Asked earlier this month whether he would look to improve the outfield this winter or stick with Soriano Gardner Ichiro and Wells general manager Brian Cashman was noncommittal. “It’s hard for me to really say” Cashman said. “Ultimately the truth of the matter is it’s my job to always find better than what we already have.” The Yankees don’t know Alex Rodriguez’s status for next season though even if he’s suspended for a large portion — or all — of 2014 finding a productive third baseman will prove to be challenging given the free-agent options.
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