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Cardinals maintaining strong interest in Carlos Beltran

Dec 18, 2011, 10:51 AM EDT

beltran getty Getty Images

From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes this:

The Cardinals did extensive background work on free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran last week and maintain strong interest in him, according to major league sources.

Rosenthal goes on to say that other teams “remain in the mix” and that Beltran is considering “two- and even three-year” offers, but the Cardinals may have become the front-runner with the Rockies’ recent acquisition of Michael Cuddyer and the Blue Jays’ heavy involvement in the Yu Darvish bidding.

Beltran batted .300/.385/.525 with 22 home runs, 39 doubles and 84 RBI in 598 plate appearances for the Mets and Giants in 2011. The 34-year-old would likely to be asked to play right field in St. Louis until Allen Craig heals from his knee surgery, then he could be shifted to center in place of Jon Jay.

  1. 78mu - Dec 18, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    The question is how will his knees hold up? If he’s healthy enough to spell Jay in CF as well as start the season in RF until Craig comes back this should be a no brainer.

    • only1stantheman - Dec 18, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      Yes, and if he needs days off and berkman needs days off, craig can fill in there and leave jay primarily at CF, that could be a fit where everyone sees the AB they want…

  2. tashkalucy - Dec 18, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Another player like Grady Sizemore, Jim Thome and Travis Hafner. Let’s call them Group 1.

    You have to factor in that Beltran is going to miss chunks of the season injured.

    A pity, because all those guys had great careers ahead of them. Only Thome goes in the Hall, and he was helped by not having the nagging injuries till late in his caree. And of course he could DH. Beltran, Sizemore and Hafner sure looked like gangbusters early in their careers.

    It makes one appreciate the great ones that do it for well over a decade. Albert. Jeter. Manny. Big Papi. Miguel Cabrera. Call these gentlemen ‘Hall of Famers to be’ – Group 2.

    Will Mauer and Morneau regroup and become members of Group 2, or will they join Group 1?

    Which lead me to Prince Fielder. How could at least a half-dozen teams not be offering a big 7 year contract for him? A guy that you can put in the #4 hole and build around him for years. Unless the front offices project that with his “body type” and work habits, he is going to be a candidate for Group #1 in the near future.

    • Alex K - Dec 18, 2011 at 11:58 AM

      Cabrera has only been in the big leagues 9 years. Beltran has been going for 13 years. I wouldn’t say that Cabrera has had quite the career that Beltran has, just yet.

      Ortiz has also only been “Big Papi” for 9 years. He was just meh while he was with the Twins. I would pump the brakes on calling him a HOF player. He’s not anywhere near as good as Edgar Martinez and Edgar isn’t sniffing the HOF right now.

      • tashkalucy - Dec 18, 2011 at 2:15 PM

        Alex K ,

        Are you serious?

        Cabrara –

        Averages 30 HR’s a year and 109 RBI a year
        BA – .317
        OBP – .395
        SLG – .555
        OPS – .950

        Beltran

        Averages 21.5 HR’s a year and 82 RBI a year
        BA – 283
        OBP – .361 .
        SLG – 496
        OPS – 857

        And Cabrara was the big gun that has led both the Marlins and Tigers to the post-season.

        And the scary thing about Cabrara – HE’S ONLY 28 YEARS OLD! it can be argued that his best years are coming.

        Next to Albert Puhols, Miguel Cabrara has been the best hitter in MLB. If he played in NYC or Boston the national media would be talking about him every day.

      • tashkalucy - Dec 18, 2011 at 2:21 PM

        Alex K,

        I’ll give you Big Papi on the 9 years.

        But what appeals to me is that he has been clutch – particularly in big games. He and Manny anchored those Red Sox teams. Without them…….

      • Alex K - Dec 18, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        You missed my point on Cabrera. He hasn’t had as good of a career, yet. He is a better hitter than Beltran, but he is a bad defender everywhere on the diamond. That counts. Beltran gave you those numbers while being one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball for many years. He’s not near the defender he was, but that happens when outfielders knees go wonky.

        So while I expect Cabrera to end up with a better career than Beltran I don’t think it has happened at this point. Beltran is still a pretty good hitter, himself.

        And I agree Cabrera has been one of the best hitters of the last 7-8 years.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Dec 18, 2011 at 9:20 PM

        If you’ll buy WAR just a little bit, Beltran is in the top ten of all CF’s in the history of the game. Cabrera isn’t there yet (though well on his way).

        Papi needs to do it longer. He still doesn’t have the production of borderline HOFers like Dawson and Rice.

    • paperlions - Dec 18, 2011 at 12:05 PM

      We don’t really know what teams are offering. Boras always slow plays his big clients, sometimes to great effect…other times, not so much. Fielder hasn’t be particularly consistent throughout his career, combine that with his body type, and a lot of teams (especially NL teams) may be reluctant to go all in on the guy…especially for 7+ years.

      Teams are also aware of all of the contributions they get from players. Fielder is all hit, no field, no base running. Teams may be reluctant to overpay a 1-trick pony if there is concern about how consistently it can do the trick.

    • Mark - Dec 18, 2011 at 1:03 PM

      You don’t think Beltran is a HoF player? Going back to 1980 the only CF’s I’d say that are better than Beltran are Griffey, possibly Andruw Jones and Jim Edmonds.

      I’d go as far as to say even if Beltran never plays another game in his life he’d still be good enough to get in. He’s had a fantastic career and is definitely worthy.

      • tashkalucy - Dec 18, 2011 at 2:00 PM

        Mark,

        You really think Carlos Beltran is a HOF player?

        He has been in the major leagues 14 years, and he’s hit .300 all of 4 times….and I’m giving him last year because he it .300 with the Giants, with the Mets he hit .283.

        Carlos was/is a very talented player and respected by all that played with and against him. But he never really became “the man” for his team – never carried them or led them.

        I thought Beltran was be a Micky Mantle type player. He had it all – power, speed, switch-hitter, rand in the OF, decent throwing arm. But no, I don’t think he ever approached impacting a game and a season like Mantle.

        A decent enough player. But a Hall Of Famer? Sorry, don’t think so.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 18, 2011 at 2:23 PM

        No chance Beltran’s a HOF player, nor Edmonds or Jones.

        As for him and the Cards, I’m for it I suppose – they have to do something.

      • 78mu - Dec 18, 2011 at 6:26 PM

        falcon:

        Had Edmonds stayed in Anaheim and put up those numbers over his career I would agree with you. But look at his 8 years with the Cardinals and what his final numbers were. In St. Louis he had a .393 OBP and an OPS+ of 143. Hard to find many CFs that combined those numbers with his defense in the HOF.

        He wasn’t Willie Mays but I hope that’s not the standard it takes to get voted in.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 18, 2011 at 6:55 PM

        79mu:

        Jimmy Ballgame’s final stats:

        BA .284
        HR 393
        RBI 1,199

        A helluva career but not HOF wothy IMO.

      • paperlions - Dec 18, 2011 at 7:34 PM

        First, those are some poor stats on which to judge a career.

        Second, list for me 10 CF that had better careers than Edmonds while playing the entire thing as a CF and not moving to 1B, DH, or RF. There aren’t 10.

      • 78mu - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:05 PM

        falcon:

        Using BA instead of OBP is the mistake critics of Tim Raines make.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:20 PM

        Why is lifetime BA, HR’s and RBI’s “some poor stats on which to judge a career”?

        His defensive prowess and penchant for coming up big in the clutch are bound to help him
        but hardly enough to get him to Cooperstown, not gonna happen.

        He’ll be lucky to get 30% of the vote in his first year of eligibility.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:42 PM

        78mu:

        OBP is a much better stat than BA, agreed.

        I’d love to see the guy get in, I just don’t think he will.

      • 78mu - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:53 PM

        BA is nice but the object is to get on base. Ricky Henderson hit 279 but his OBP was 401. Should his BA keep him out of the HOF?

        Henderson also hit ‘only’ 297 HRs. Should his HRs keep him out of the HOF?

        RBIs are dependent on guys getting on base ahead of you. Henderson also ‘only’ had 1115 RBIs. Should his RBIs keep him out of the HOF?

        Most corner OFs would have a hard time getting in with those stats but Rick;y was so valuable just because he got on base so freakin’ much with decent power for a leadoff man.

        Edmonds was better defensively at a more important position and has to get credit for that. His coming up big in clutch situations should not matter because I’m not sure he did. But even without trying to measure that he has a pretty good case. And whether the voters agree or not does not change the numbers he put up..

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 18, 2011 at 9:18 PM

        His numbers are worthy of a case to get in for sure.

        I just don’t think the voters will see fit to enshrine him.

      • astrozac - Dec 19, 2011 at 1:22 AM

        I think you all are right that Edmonds probably doesn’t have that great of shot of getting in, but probably should. Not overly stellar numbers and a strike-out king, but I think he’s defensive abilities should just push him in.

        I mean, as a Cardinal fan, look at Ozzie’s numbers, if not for his defensive abilities and his honestly popularity he wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. Edmonds has better average, on base, more runs per season than Ozzie did…

  3. hustleandflomax - Dec 18, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Beltran would fit in the Cards lineup very nicely. I might be a little hesitant to ask him to play CF though, especially full-time. I’m really hoping Mozeliak is able to reel him in, actually.

    • spudchukar - Dec 18, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      But he is much more of an asset as a Centerfielder. Much like Only1Stan indicated, he doesn’t have to play every inning of every game there, but if Right Field is his only option he takes ABs away from Craig, who has shown to be every bit as productive as Beltran.

      Hey Tash, what is the benefit of “grouping”, it only creates less definition, and pigeonholes players unnecessarily. A few of the players are primarily DHs, but other than that they have little in common.

      As for Fielder, it would not be prudent for a National League Team to invest 7-10 years for him. He is a DH in waiting due to his body type. However, the dude plays almost every inning of every game so his work ethic is exemplary not troubling.

  4. dwrek5 - Dec 18, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    I don’t think people realize how good of a season Beltran had last season. Beltran is not being pursued as a super sub 4th OF. He’s better than Craig.

    2011 he played 142 games with a 910 OPS.
    In comparison Holliday had 124 games with a 912 OPS

    • 78mu - Dec 18, 2011 at 6:31 PM

      If he’s healthy he’s better than Craig. I’m not sure I’d bet the house on him playing more games than Craig even with Allen’s late start. I’d love to see it but I don’t think any team believes he’s that reliable.

  5. isujames - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    The cardinals should pass on beltran and try 2 get fielder.Beltran aint the player he was a few years ago and they can afford to give fielder six yrs 170 mill and be a better team than they where

  6. stex52 - Dec 18, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Two thoughts.

    1. When Jim Edmonds was playing CF for St. Louis, there was no player (non-pitcher) that I would rather have had on my team. (Astros fan). Whether he did it for enough years is tougher, in this period of inflated homerun stats. I would tend to vote “yes”.

    2. Beltran for no more than two years is a good fit for the Cardinals. Keep Berkman at first and the whole lineup gets stronger. Even on bad knees I’d rather see him in the outfield.

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