Skip to content

The Cards are “realizing traction” on Carlos Beltran

Dec 16, 2011, 1:30 PM EDT

beltran scores getty Getty Images

I think “realizing traction” is a new hot stove expression, but I kinda like it.  Before we had “kicking the tires” and “in discussion,” but then it jumped straight to “nearing a deal” and “are close.”  We really had nothing for that middle period when kicked tire-induced discussions were merely making some progress.

Yes, I think a lot about this stuff.

Anyway, according to Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are realizing said traction in talks with Carlos Beltran. This might be by default, as Beltran’s other reported suitors — the Rockies and the Blue Jays — are likely pulling out of the race, what with the former signing Michael Cuddyer and the latter allegedly winning the Yu Darvish sweepstakes.

Beltran would make sense in St. Louis. Because, as you may have heard, they could use a middle-of-the-order bat.

  1. phukyouk - Dec 16, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    “Beltran would make sense in St. Louis. Because, as you may have heard, they could use a middle-of-the-order bat.”

    Too soon??? Nah…..

    • bozosforall - Dec 16, 2011 at 4:41 PM

      They would be much better served going after Fielder.

      • only1stantheman - Dec 16, 2011 at 11:14 PM

        I like Berkman to first because giving his legs a rest *could* lead to similar offensive production as this year, and with Craig out at least till june, Shumaker and Jay want to play every day, and when Craig comes back, he can give Berkman some days off at first. If Beltran can stay healthy, he could be just what the Cards need.

  2. El Bravo - Dec 16, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    I haven’t heard anything…what happened to the Card’s line-up now?

    • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2011 at 5:01 PM

      I know we have no Pastornicki!

  3. missthemexpos - Dec 16, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    The hot stove league could use some more new expressions. Maybe by next off-season we can find a phrase to replace the “He is in the best shape of his life”.

    • cur68 - Dec 16, 2011 at 1:55 PM

      I say we start with combinations: “He was realizing traction on the BSOL but a oblique strain derailed his progress”. Combination cliches could be the new black next season.

    • paperlions - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:03 PM

      I hope not, that phrase needs to stick around forever.

    • sknut - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:09 PM

      Maybe “optimized for peak performance” ?

    • chadjones27 - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:24 PM

      “Geometrically excellent” or “Peak cardiovacular efficiency”

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:08 PM

      “He’s going to be a g*ddamn badass” would be a lovely alternative phrase.

  4. cintiphil - Dec 16, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Well, I may have have celebrated too soon with Albert leaving. Although Beltran doesn’t necessarily kill the Reds like Albert did, this would be a big pick up for them to make up for Alberts bat overall. I have to admit, this makes the Cardinals once again favorites to win the division.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:09 PM

      I think a lot of that relies on Wainwright, too.

      • randygnyc - Dec 17, 2011 at 1:34 AM

        Assuming wainwright comes all the way back and that beltran’s knees hold up (also assuming beltran’s contract is incentive laden for obvious reasons), cards will be favorites for their division. Funny, though, that the cards won’t be the favorites to win the NL pennant. Even with howards injury and the likely loss of Oswald and the Rollins troubles, the phakin phils will still be the annointed ones.

  5. spudchukar - Dec 16, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Little or no other choices really. If Beltran can handle CF, then it would be easier to accept. The fact that he is a slightly better Right Handed hitter than Left is a plus, allowing Jay to give him time off, and perhaps as late-inning defensive replacement. Probably fits nicely into the #3 hole.

    Assuming the Cards are truly going to “re-allocate” the funds, hard to see where else they could possibly go on the free agent market. 2 years 25 mil, plus a mutual option?

    • dwrek5 - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:05 PM

      Exactly. They need another OF and a middle of the order bat. Like you said, who else can provide that? 2 birds, 1 stone. And some of the risk is diminished by having 3 capable guys already.

      • paperlions - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:14 PM

        Agreed. If they get him for 2 years, I’ll like the signing….especially if he can learn to play a passable 1B. Gives them OF and lineup depth.

        Every team can use another middle of the order bat, but Craig, Holliday, Berkman, Freese was already a pretty solid 3-6.

        Fucal, Craig/Jay, Beltran, Holliday, Berkman, Freese, Molina, Descalso isn’t a bad NL lineup.

      • chadjones27 - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:27 PM

        Isn’t the guy slow and perpetually hurt? CF may not be the best location. Hey, maybe “perpetually hurt” can be the anti-BSOL.

      • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:34 PM

        About this time last year, we were looking forward to no Wainwright, Theriot at SS, Rasmus in CF, and Franklin and Batista closing out games. Of course we had Albert but still…

      • paperlions - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:09 PM

        I agree Spud. There wasn’t much exciting to look forward to last year, especially after loosing Wainwright. Furcal is an upgrade. Rasmus didn’t pan out, which sucks…but I’ve moved on. Craig, Freese, Jay, and Descalso are all nice players to have around. Yadi dramatically improved his offense last year; I hope an extension for him is coming soon. A LOT of prospects really came on last year, most won’t contribute in 2012, but in 2013 and 2014, Miller, Martinez, Adams, Cox, Wong, and Tavaras will be guys that will be knocking on the door.

        Losing Albert sucks, but a lot of other things are going just fine.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      Sorry Spud…I sincerely doubt that Beltran can play a passable CF at this point. Also, I suspect that even attempting to might have a detrimental impact on his perpetually wonky knees.

      • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:55 PM

        Beltran is a full year away from surgery, which may help. Plus he still sees himself as a Center Fielder, which could be a meaningful cog in the negotiations. With Craig likely to start the year on the DL, it should give the Cards a month to find out if Beltran can handle CF. Maybe that is why they took Komatsu in the Rule 5, as a back-up in case the experiment fails.

        But assuming the Cards carry 13 pitchers, then there is no room for Matt Carpenter. I say let’s move McClellan or Boggs, plus one of either Lohse or Westbrook, and get ourselves a Second Baseman, maybe like Brian Roberts, and then sign Roy Oswalt.

        Old sure, but it’s not like we are the Phillies.

      • SOBEIT - Dec 16, 2011 at 4:08 PM

        You are correct dr. When the Giants signed him, he wanted a guarantee that he would play RF and be 3rd in batting order. We did not want him in RF because that is very difficult at AT&T with the dimensions and funky bounces off the many surfaces in RF. Schierholtz mastered RF. We felt he could only handle LF which is easier at AT&T. We shall see if he makes the same demands with a team outside of SF. But no way he can handle CF with those knees. He looked so ungraceful catching fly balls. And liners are where I expect him to get hurt again. Even when sliding for a catch, he would jam his knee into the turf and leave a huge divot. Anything beyond 2yr/20M is a huge risk for any team.

        But the guy can flat out hit. Whoever gets him will be happy if he can stay on the field…but considering he hurt his wrist immediately after being traded did not bode well for his track record of getting injured frequently. An AL team would be wiser to sign him, but he also does not want to be a DH. We’ll see if the soft market changes his mind.

      • astrozac - Dec 16, 2011 at 4:20 PM

        “But assuming the Cards carry 13 pitchers…”

        Well, hopefully those days are behind us now…

    • Tim's Neighbor - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:51 PM

      They keep him in RF. He’s a plus defender there. Much better than Berkman in RF last year. Beltran goes to 1B (not dropping off too much defensively from Pujols). With the added defense in RF, you’re gaining back some of what you lose in Pujols.

      /nerd glasses on
      Syzmborski also had something the other day saying that ZIPS expects Beltran to contribute a positive WAR for at least 3-4 more years I believe. (4.5 WAR over the next two seasons)
      /takes off nerd glasses

      • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:03 PM

        For him to help erase the absence of Pujols he needs to manage CF. Moving him to right only takes the bat out of Craig’s hands which is close to a wash. Yes, moving Berkman to first is the logical move, but you underrate Albert as a First Baseman. Our defense will take a step backwards with Fat Elvis manning First Base.

        It doesn’t mean that Beltran has to play 9 innings every day in CF. He can be rested, moved to right vs. tough righties, and replaced or moved to a corner position late in games. But if we are going after Beltran with the intent of him being an every day Right Fielder, then I believe the deal shouldn’t be consummated, unless they plan on continuing the Craig as a Second Baseman experiment, which did not work out too well last year, especially turning the DP.

      • Alex K - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        Does the 4.5 over the next two years mean per season or combined? If it means per year I don’t know that he won’t decline a little more than that.

      • Alex K - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:22 PM

        The last time Beltran was worth positive fielding runs (per fangraphs) was 2008. That was right before his knees started to break down. Fangraphs had him below average last year and he didn’t play any center.

        I don’t know if he can hold up playing in center. But I also thought Berkman was going to get hurt playing right last year, so I guess there is no way to know health. I don’t think it’s a terrible idea to let him try center, but I also don’t think you should expect the Carlos Beltran of old out there, either.

      • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:35 PM

        Alex, I pretty much agree. But he sure makes the Cards better if he can regain enough form to handle CF on a semi-regular basis. It is worth a try, and we do have back-up plans in case his skills have eroded that much.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:37 PM

        It was 4.5 over two years.

        Beltran just can’t play CF any more. He would be well below average and it’d probably erase any sort of advantage you’d get from his bat. In RF, his UZR/150 was indeed negative last year, but that’s a small sample size. (Also, if negative in RF, you’ll be crazy negative in CF) Berkman’s rating was even worse in RF.

        At 1B, Pujols is about average, though still slightly ahead (has been for 3 seasons). Berkman is just slightly below. Considering it’s 1B, the downgrade at 1B from Pujols to Berkman is less than the upgrade from Berkman to Beltran in RF.

        There’s not enough data on Craig defensively in the OF. Offensively, he’s certainly no Beltran.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:38 PM

        Of course it’d be ideal if Beltran could play CF. But he can’t.

      • Alex K - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:59 PM

        Tim’s Neighbor- I understand the defensive spectrum enough to know that CF>RF and that Beltran’s sample size is pretty small in RF. But, if the Cards are going to sign Beltran why not try him out in a more valuable position? It’s not like they have anyone else that is a really good CF.

        I don’t think Beltran will work in center anymore, either, but why not give it a shot? It’s not like he’s going to be plus anywhere, anymore. Which is sad becasue he was amazing before the knees started to go.

      • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        First off advanced defensive stats suck. They are unreliable and offer no more insight than human eyesight, bias and all.

        Watching Pujols daily is enough for me. The notion that he is somewhere near average as a first baseman is preposterous.

        Offensive advances stats however can be enlightening, and while one can certainly make the case that the sample size is somewhat small on Craig’s behalf, his numbers both in his minor league stay, and the past two major league seasons belie your claim that he is no Beltran.

        I say the jury is still out on Beltran and centerfield. Granted CF in San Francisco might be out of his reach, but in St. Louis, with available replacements to relieve the burden of playing every day, all nine innings, he may just be adequate.

        Last year the “sages” said the Cards were nuts asking Berkman to man RF. Was he great, No. But he got better as the year went on and St. Louis wouldn’t be flying their WS banner had he not made the move, which he handled well enough.

        If Beltran can be as effective in CF as Berkman was in RF, then the overall result will be a plus for St. Louis, and minimize the effects of the Pujols departure from the National League’s best hitting team.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Dec 16, 2011 at 4:44 PM

        “First off advanced defensive stats suck. They are unreliable and offer no more insight than human eyesight, bias and all.”

        This is false. Defensive metrics continue to improve. If you choose to find no value, you are choosing to eliminate a tool in evaluating players. (Just as eyesight is a choice)

        “Watching Pujols daily is enough for me. The notion that he is somewhere near average as a first baseman is preposterous.”

        I thought the same thing about Freddie Freeman this year. He does some great things, but just isn’t above average. The eye test is nice, but 100% subjective. And if you and I were actually any good at scouting professional baseball players, we wouldn’t be arguing on a blog.

      • spudchukar - Dec 16, 2011 at 5:16 PM

        Since I have 3 years professional baseball under my belt, my eye for talent, extends a little past this blog.

        Plus the notion that the quantification of defensive statistics isn’t subjective is hilarious.

        Have defensive statistics improved, yes. But they still have a long way to go before a great deal of trust can be placed on them. But what irks me the most is your comment regarding Freddie Freeman. And it highlights the dogmatic inferences that those who only rely on sabermetric analysis keep alluding to.

        First, you state, that it is a tool, okay, I buy that, even though I would argue that it isn’t a very prefected tool. But then you claim that Freeman isn’t as talented a first baseman as you witnessed, because his “stats” do not say so.

        As Barbara Walters recently commented, “WHAT!?”

      • Tim's Neighbor - Dec 17, 2011 at 1:33 AM

        It means that the neat things I can see him do, day in and day out, deceive me. He looked great, but just wasn’t.

        Also, I’m not dogmatic to sabremetrics. It’s a tool. I know Freddie Freeman can make some sick plays. I’ve seen it. But how do you really tell someone’s range, day in and day out. Defensive metrics help measure that. It drove me nuts watching Nate McLouth play an awful CF every day but listen to fans say love all over his defense. Yeah, he is excellent at making and over-shoulder catch, but good God, his range just wasn’t there.

        I don’t think we’ll be changing each other’s mind here. I just don’t buy Beltran being productive in CF or anywhere close. I think signing him is smart. There are plenty of AB’s to go around between Berkman, Allen and Craig without having to put Beltran in CF.

      • spudchukar - Dec 17, 2011 at 2:48 AM

        There is no scientific measurement when evaluating range. This is the crux of my argument. It is an artifice. It is based on pure speculation by the evaluator. The variance of batted balls insures this. There are too many variables to consider, when the evaluation is made.

        Perhaps the most valid statistic would be some combination of assists and putouts quantified by the number of batted balls by the opposition. That might be the most effective measurement, but even that is rife with problems, but does incorporate at least metrics that are not solely based on subjective interpretation.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 16, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    So if Beltran signs with the Cards, do the SF fans or Mets fans call him a traitor? I want to make sure I’m doing this right.

    • paperlions - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:04 PM

      No, the Royals fans do.

  7. westcoastredbird - Dec 16, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Isn’t his agent Dan Lozano? I’d love to be a fly on the wall during this negotiation.

    • paperlions - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:04 PM

      You think he’ll ask for a 10 year personal services contract?

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      I was wondering why the Jays were mentioned in connection to Beltran; however, his agent did visit Toronto and talked with the Jays. Otherwise, I doubt that Toronto would be able to use Beltran unless he agreed to be a DH and took a short term deal.

  8. Jonny 5 - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Berkman on first with Beltran in the OF. It’s a no brainer and it should be doing more than realize traction in StL imo. They should pounce on him. Pounce like a hungry Honey Badger.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Dec 16, 2011 at 5:13 PM

      Who is St. Limo? The patron Saint of the older, slower player?

  9. salvomania - Dec 16, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Beltran, 2011: .300/.385/.525, 67 extra-base hits, 4 stolen bases

    Pujols, 2011: .299/.366/.541, 66 extra-base hits, 9 stolen bases

    Looks like the Angels took the crappier hitter, but the better speed burner.

    • cardsfanindelaware - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:01 PM

      Let’s not get ahead of ourselves with Pujols being the master base stealer that he is. If I remember correctly, 4 of those steals were when the pitcher fell asleep on the mound, 3 were when the pitcher was playing with the rosin bag and other 2 were part of a double steals.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:14 PM

      Wow, those are pretty eye-opening credentials.

      However, Beltran’s older, and that was his best performance in like 35 years.

      • cintiphil - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:18 PM

        I agree with you to some degree, but I don’t think that was his best season. And, I don’t think Beltran will get a 10 deal.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:42 PM

        I didn’t say it was his best season altogether.

    • Alex K - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:28 PM

      You know what surprised me more about those base stealing numbers? Beltran got caught twice. For context Beltran has an 86% sucess rate stealing over his career (293-41). He was an absolutely awsome base runner. Maybe one of the best ever.

      • randygnyc - Dec 17, 2011 at 1:46 AM

        He’s rolling with spares now.

  10. cintiphil - Dec 16, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    “10 year deal”

  11. nlucas550 - Dec 16, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Blues take down Rangers, concerns with Carlos Beltran, McDaniels’ case for another head coaching gig, and a former Mizzou QB is struggling.

    • jwbiii - Dec 17, 2011 at 6:19 PM

      Sure, the Rangers have to be bummed that they lost C.J. Wilson, apparently lost out on the Yu Darvish bidding, and Josh Hamilton lost his keeper, but I don’t think that should be incapacitatingly bad depression. I’m sure Jon Daniels can get a therapeutic use exemption for some meds if it is.

  12. stex52 - Dec 16, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    Berkman will be better than everyone expects at first. He is not fast, but he can be quick, and he is very smart. Signing on Berkman and Beltran does make them old, but it just makes a world of sense. If Wainwright is healthy, they start off much better already. The middle of the order will still be potent for a couple more years. I disliked the way Beltran treated Houston (ancient history), but I think he is the right move for the Cards.

  13. mahoffman1972 - Dec 17, 2011 at 7:52 AM

    if price is right, do it.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (2527)
  2. B. Crawford (2358)
  3. Y. Puig (2314)
  4. G. Springer (2118)
  5. D. Wright (2041)
  1. J. Hamilton (2025)
  2. J. Fernandez (2005)
  3. D. Span (1932)
  4. H. Ramirez (1931)
  5. C. Correa (1913)