As the Yankees continue to chart a unique deadline course, the team is entertaining dialogue regarding outfielder Carlos Beltran with several interested competitors, per ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (via Twitter). Among the teams in discussions are not only the Indians and Rangers, who have frequently been mentioned in the past, but also the Astros and even the rival Red Sox.
Though it sounds as if there’s a fair bit of action on the 39-year-old slugger, that doesn’t mean that anything is close. Indeed, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter), no scenarios have been put in front of Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner — which would be the case if there were real “momentum” toward a deal.
New York doesn’t appear to be simply looking to get whatever it can for Beltran, given the team’s attempt to straddle the line between a full sell-off and continued pursuit of the playoffs. Last we heard, there’s a pretty high price tag on his services. That being said, it’s hard to imagine that he’s not an achievable target given that the club has already dealt top-quality late-inning arms Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.
Unsurprisingly, all the clubs listed above are in the American League. While Beltran’s bat has been sensational even as he approaches forty years of age, he’s no longer the quality center fielder he once was. Instead, Beltran is now limited to playing right field — which he has done passably, though not terribly well, this year. And the wise move will likely remain to slot him in as a DH rather liberally; the Yankees have given him about a third of his overall action there.
Though he has limits as a player, Beltran is quite appealing as a rental bat. He owns a stellar .301/.342/.538 batting line and has already popped 21 long balls in his 383 plate appearances in 2016. Questions of health and age won’t be as pressing given his high-quality current performance, and the same holds of his fairly lofty salary. Beltran is earning $15MM this year before hitting the open market, with about $5.34MM left to go on the season.
It’s worth noting, too, that Beltran has been nothing less than a monster in the postseason. Over his 223 plate appearances, he owns a robust .332/.441/.674 slash with 16 home runs. And Beltran is obviously a highly respected veteran who’d add to any clubhouse, increasing his appeal to teams with designs on a deep run.