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Cardinals have “intensified talks” with Carlos Beltran

Dec 22, 2011, 2:33 PM EDT

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Cleveland’s actual level of interest in Carlos Beltran is unclear, but there’s no doubt that St. Louis is legitimately making a strong run at the free agent outfielder.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch the Cardinals have “intensified their talks” with Beltran and are likely offering him at least a two-year contract.

Several reports have suggested that Beltran will make a decision on his new home by the end of this week, so presumably the Cardinals have put their interest in Coco Crisp on hold until then.

No one can replace Albert Pujols‘ production, particularly since the Cardinals have made it clear that they aren’t interested in Prince Fielder, but if healthy and available for a two-year commitment Beltran might be the best all-around value still on the market. He hit .300 with 22 homers and a .910 OPS in 142 games for the Mets and Giants this past season, marking the fifth time in six years he’s topped an .875 OPS.

  1. jrspike - Dec 22, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    It will take away the sting, Berkman along with Beltran will give them two of the Houstons “B’s

    • elmedico27 - Dec 22, 2011 at 3:21 PM

      “It will take away the sting”

      I see what you did there.

    • marshmallowsnake - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:04 PM

      This would be great…if it were 2005.

    • 78mu - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:16 PM

      Is Craig Biggio available?

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:39 PM

        Now that was funny!

        Although I’m sure the Cards FO would find an excuse to “slow play” a retired Biggio.

      • stlouis1baseball - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:50 PM

        How about Kevin Bass or Bill Doran? Let’s bring em’ in.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:49 PM

        Holy hell – I forgot about Billy Doran, the Cards do need a second baseman!

  2. test2402 - Dec 22, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Beltran is a big Tim Tebow supporter.

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:59 PM

      Are you saying Carlos is Tebow’s jock strap?

  3. okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Nothing will ever take away the sting of what took place with the mishandling of the Pujol’s negotiations, that is this leadership’s legacy.

    I can already hear Mozeliak/Dewitt rhetoric in future negotiations with Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina:

    “The situation is fluid, there’s interest in the player but we don’t want to characterize the situation as optimistic although we hope the outcome is beneficial while leaving flexibility.”

    • elmedico27 - Dec 22, 2011 at 3:34 PM

      It is rather telling that the word “intensified” was never used for Pujols negotiations. Especially given the comments Pujols has delivered afterward, I think if the talks were “intensified” rather than, say, “completely and utterly detached,” the whole situation may have started tipping in the Cardinals’ favor. Why take this position of intensity/vigor/enthusiasm with Beltran but not Albert?

      • paperlions - Dec 22, 2011 at 3:46 PM

        Because Beltran is looking for 2, maybe 3, years and about $12-13M/year….and he should be a decent ball player for that long….Pujols was looking for 10 years and over $25M/year….and has almost no chance of justifying more than 1/2 of that contract.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 3:47 PM

        Exactly elmedico27/

        “Completely and utterly detached” is this leaderships M-O to the nth degree.

        The precedent has been set and it will take a helluva lot more than a run a Carlos Beltran to change that perception.

    • paperlions - Dec 22, 2011 at 3:44 PM

      Get over it already. Pujols wanted far more than was fair or reasonable. I would love to have had him back, but he is a 32 yr old player that will be over-paid pretty much every year of that 10 year deal. He was a $25M/year player a few years ago, but has not been that guy since at least 2009. His defense is declining, his speed/base running/range are declining, and last year it looked like his ability to effectively adapt to how he was being pitched was declining. He is still a great player, and may be for the next few years….but 10 yrs at $25M/year is just crazy. Even the deal the Cardinals offered 9 years for $210M was too much for too long.

      Ass kissing wasn’t going to help this situation, Pujols wanted the most money….besides horribly overpaying (as opposed to just drastically overpaying), how do you think they should have handled things differently?

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:00 PM

        Easy.

        They never should have allowed him to get to free agency.

        As soon as he uttered the now infamous “It’s not the money” line in November of 2009 they should’ve have been proactive and taken advantage of that quote and got a deal done.

        As for me “getting over it” – not gonna happen anytime soon.

        My relentless badgering of this will regime will mirror your daily diatribes against their former manager only intensifying as they go deeper into their reign of goofiness.

      • spudchukar - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:03 PM

        And I will be right with you Falc.

      • janknessgv - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        Pujols was going to get to free agency no matter what. When the Cards contacted Lozano 2 years ago he told them that the Arod 10yr/275mil deal would be the starting point on negotiations for Pujols. There’s no way the Cards could have afforded that then or now. Their only shot to resign Pujols was for him to reach free agency and the market be weak. The idea that this is ownerships fault is not true, Albert wanted to be paid. He didn’t care about a legacy in St. Louis

      • spudchukar - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:39 PM

        Simply Wrong.

      • paperlions - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        It is not wrong. The ARod deal was always the stated starting point if the Cardinals wanted to keep Pujols from being a FA….always. After the Howard deal, they were throwing out 10 yrs and $300M.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:02 PM

        Ryan Howard signed his extension in April of 2010, 5 months after AP was quoted as saying he’d take less money.

        Waiting to react to an already inflated marketplace was pure stupidity.

        There’s never been a source for any alleged 10 year/$300 million demand to avert free agency – never.

      • jeffthomasb - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:52 PM

        I love how every post having anything to do with the Cards always turns immediately into some serious wound-licking and soul-searching about AP. And rightly so. This is a seismic shift in our baseball world, and it pretty much chafes me that non-residents of Cardinal nation keep telling us to stop whining about it and move on. It’s not that simple, and we’re gonna be a month or two into next season before we really start getting adjusted to this. The only way this becomes easy, and not that I wish any harm for the man, is if AP blows a wheel during Spring Training and has to sit on the shelf for most of the season. Then it’s a wash. In the meantime, though, Beltran’s about the best option we have, and hopefully the front office doesn’t get spackled by Lozano again.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:22 PM

        My replies are hardly reflect “anything to do with the Cards always turns immediately into some serious wound-licking and soul-searching about AP.”

        None have been that way in the least, I’ve seen the probability of this happening for 2 years.

        They do however reflect the ineptitude and reactive manor in which current management handled the situation and have instilled a doubt with how negotiations with core players will be handled in the future.

  4. dwrek5 - Dec 22, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    These talks go to 11.

  5. spudchukar - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    Since the Cards’ brass have indicated that Fielder is not in their plans, and rightly so (he belongs in the American League if his contract is lengthy) Beltran is the only option that can assuage the sting. Hopefully, they can get it done for 2 years and 25 mil with a mutual vesting option in year three. But Boras knows they are under the gun, and probably will be able to wrest a few million more.

    • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:14 PM

      Isn’t Beltran a Lozano guy as well spud?

      He’s already outplayed the Cards brass once, this has hoodwink written all over it…again.

    • spudchukar - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:29 PM

      Correct. I cannot get it through my thick skull that Boras no longer represents Beltran. But the same goes for Lozano. St. Louis is not in a particularly leveraged position, so expect the worst.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:45 PM

        Expect the worst is now the mantra going forward.

        Mo and Dewitt vs. Dan Lozano is like taking a butter knife to a gun fight, he’ll probably bend them over (complete with Deadspin photos) and not quit until they overpay for Beltran.

      • paperlions - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:51 PM

        “the worst” for the Cardinals would have been signing Pujols to that $254M contract themselves.

        Lozano didn’t outplay the Cardinals, he got his client what his client wanted, the most money. Pujols didn’t care about anything else. He erroneously (and hypocritically) equated money with love/respect. He got his money, but that is all he got.

      • spudchukar - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:53 PM

        He has my respect for leaving. And I know it was difficult to do, and not motivated by extra cash.

      • paperlions - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:57 PM

        How was it not motivated by cash? The only possible reason he could have for not liking the StL ownership is that they didn’t shower him with enough cash to assuage his ego. So, any dislike (if there was any) was 100% money-derived, and he only went to LA because of money….if money wasn’t the deciding factor, he could have gone anywhere, but he went to the highest bidder.

        There is money (and bruised ego) all over this equation….and nothing else.

      • stlouis1baseball - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:02 PM

        Spud: Simply put…I don’t believe you.
        He has your respect? You gotta’ be joking.
        Not motivated by cash? Again…you gotta’ be joking.
        In fact, it is hard for me to determine which is funnier.
        Not motivated by cash? Hahahaha!
        Okay…that is funnier. I will admit it.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:19 PM

        The worst (so far) was them waiting for it to get to a point where it came down being about the money.

        They knew AP wasn’t happy 2 years ago and chose not to address the problem when it was still addressable.

        If they thought the water was deep then they should have foreseen it getting deeper once an open market situation presented itself.

        Hell, everybody else did.

      • paperlions - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:35 PM

        It was always about the money….always, always, always. They had approached him before and he said he wanted to see a commitment to winning (so they signed Holliday, which Pujols approved of and pushed for)….they tried to extend him that year and last year, both times he wanted MORE MONEY, not more respect, more love, or anything else….just more money than they were offering….and they had offered a lot of it.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:32 PM

        What were the details of these alleged approached offers you speak of both last year and the year before? Beyond the low ball offer made during spring training 2011 of course.

        I’d be interested to see any link you may have with specifics.

      • paperlions - Dec 22, 2011 at 9:22 PM

        As I would be interested in links to specifics about the Cardinals mishandling negotiations or refusing to extend him before this year. Nothing you ever say is based on anything but your perception…there weren’t even “reports” of the Cardinals not trying to extend him….indeed, there were reports that Pujols wanted to wait….and that he wanted more money.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 9:49 PM

        So you are refusing to provide links to back up your opinions stated as facts?

        Sounds like a “perception” issue on your part, expected.

        Denying and making counter claims/accusations is as good as an admission of guilt, thank you.

        Objection denied.

  6. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    I like how we’re all treating Beltran like he’s a huge brize. His 2011 was solid, but he’s not going to have huge power anymore, I wouldn’t expect a .910 OPS again, and he’s likely to be injured or rested 30-50 games a year.

    • spudchukar - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:30 PM

      Basically correct, however matched against the remaining FAs he rules.

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:43 PM

      Matt: No…not a “huge prize” per se. As far as your typical “huge prize” is concerened anyway. But for the monies and productivity…a big fat…Hell yes. He can play 3 OF positions (although not on a regular basis). Which is precisely the issue…the Cardinals do NOT need him to play 162 games in 2012 or 2013. The guy can still flat out hit. So the idea of him being able to spell Jon Jay in Center (especially against Southpaws) and hold the fort down while A.C. recovers is very beneficial. All this…while not breaking the bank. That is the key.

  7. cintiphil - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Well, you guys will need something. I think the Reds have improved their pitching quite a bit over the past two weeks. It will take hitting to get past them this year. By the way, I would not give Beltran over two years, and not over 12 Mil per. The Mets saw what happened after his first year or two.

    • cintiphil - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:30 PM

      Oh by the way, I was shocked to see Walt making deals now, but glad he did. He says there are more to make before the Spring. So, look out Milwaukee and Cards, the Reds will make a strong run this year.

      • stlouis1baseball - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        Phil: I will give Walt credit for trying to win now…but that is about it. You took a guy in Yonder Alonso (who you were trying to deal straight up for James Shields)…and essentially dealt him, Edinson and a top bullpen guy for a lesser pitcher in Latos. Makes no sense considering you were trying to shop Yonder for Shields straight up. Further complicating matters…Alonso will no longer be around when Joey bolts for Toronto in a couple of years. Walt then “tops” that move by taking your #3/#4 pitcher in Travis Wood (whom you had under contract for 4 years for about .15 cents a year) and trading him (IN DIVISION) to the Cubs for Sean Marshall (who will be a FA at the end of the year). So essentially, you are gonna’ have nothing to show for the Travis Wood trade when it’s all said and done. Redlegs fans better hope for all the marbles in 2012 cause’ the cupboard is gonna be hurtin.’

      • cintiphil - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:03 PM

        St. Lou:

        Lets wait and see. I like Alonzo very much, but he can not field. The minors are where they are to teach you that stuff, and he never learned. He will give as many runs as he makes for any body. As far as Woo, I think he needed a change because he was doing nothing for the Reds. Wood was not the 3 or 4 starter very long. they wanted him to be but it never worked out well. He is a starter who couldn’t go over 4 innings, so they put him in the pen where he wasn’t much better. So, some one may be able to use him, but he seemed burned out here. I don’t think Shields was consistent enough to carry the team with Cueto, but I think Latos is that kind of talent. He will get even better as the seasons pass. Younger than Shields too. And, we have Homer Bailey and Chapman. We will wait and see Who is hurtin.

      • cintiphil - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:05 PM

        How could I have forgotten Leake and Arroyo? Leake is going to be the 4th starter after Homer.

      • stlouis1baseball - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:08 PM

        Phil: I understand where you are coming from. Everyone feels the Central is ripe for the picking. I get that. But to trade Yonder WITH Volquez AND the Bullpen stud for Latos is a serious stretch. Especially when you consider they were trying to trade Yonder for Shields straight up. In a nutshell…the offered way more for a lesser commodity. And I like Latos. He just isn’t James Shields. Making matters worse…Yonder won’t be around to replace Joey in a couple of years. That is huge.
        But if it works out…and you guys win it all…then you can handle the bare cupboard a little easier huh?

    • cintiphil - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:48 PM

      After we win it all in 12, the Reds will be able to sign the right side of the infield with ease. Wait and see. By the way, I never liked Shields as a stopper or ace on the staff. He is a number 2 guy at best. Latos can be our no. 2 guy with ease, and don’t overlook Bailey if he doesn’t do it. IF Chapman can get behind his shoulder problems, he is going to be the no. 1 ace. If not, then the Reds wasted a lot of money.

  8. jwbiii - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    I don’t see the point. Allen Craig’s most recent medical report was optimistic
    http://www.foxsportsmidwest.com/12/19/11/Craig-hoping-for-speedy-recovery-/landing_stlcardinals.html?blockID=629512&feedID=8745

    I don’t see Beltran as better than Craig offensively or defensively, assuming Craig is healthy. Jon Jay can give Craig days off in a semi-platoon arrangement. Someone who could play CF could be useful, but Beltran played only RF last year and played it badly.

    • paperlions - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:55 PM

      If everyone would be guaranteed to stay healthy, I would agree….but between Berkman, Holliday, and Craig….someone is probably going to miss some time, no? The Cardinals can use the depth. Plus, Craig was an IF (mostly 3B I think) until recently, a bad one, but he can get by from time to time playing 3B or 2B, which would get all of those guys into the lineup at once.

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:59 PM

      JWB: Reports are he won’t be back until May (at the earliest).
      As a Cardinals fan…that leads me to believe he may or may not return prior to July. LOL!
      As far as Beltran playing Center…I thought he played all three OF positions last year. No?

      • dwrek5 - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:03 PM

        You beat me to it, the way the Cards org mis-leads the media and fans with injuries I am thinking All Star break here. I really hope not, but just being realistic.

      • jwbiii - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:15 PM

        No, RF only. TZR has him at -14, UZR at -7.3. From the few games I saw, he didn’t look good, but I’m a Chicagoan and don’t see many Mets or Giants games. Thanks for the info on the Cards’ medical reports. I’ll add them to my “Yeah, right” list with the Red Sox , Royals, and Mets.

  9. spudchukar - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    Craig is more likely to open the season in RF then be unavailable until July. The second base option is intriguing, but probably not a great idea right off. Remember this was a fractured patella, not ligament damage. Perhaps his recent surgery included some meniscus work, not a lot of details forthcoming, but recovery from those procedures are usually made quickly.

    Beltran is another year removed from surgery. He is much more valuable manning CF on a semi-regular basis.

    I would like to see Tyler Greene get some work at 1B in Spring Training. He should be able to manage it okay, and be able to give Berkman some days off against tough lefties. Wong may be ready by 2013, but expecting him to play in the Bigs this year is probably unreasonable.

    It will be interesting to see how Erik Komatsu performs in the Spring. He has some speed, and while no slugger, he isn’t just a slap hitter either. If he is a defensive asset, don’t be surprised to see him come North. Hard to understand why Washington, who is Center fielder needy, didn’t protect him.

    • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:49 PM

      Doesn’t Komatsu have to come North or be offered back to his former club at 25K? I’m not quite familiar with the Rule 5 specifics.

      As for Greene, I would suspect he’ll get work all over in the spring.

      I believe he’s out of options so he’s at least the 25th man on the roster – along with Skippy…

      I like Craig but am obviously concerned about his health going forward, signing Beltran seems like a no brainer considering AC’s rehab and John Jay’s development, if (and thats a huge if)
      he does indeed become an everyday CF.

  10. okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Beltran looks like a done deal according to the St Louis Post Dispatch – details here:

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cardinal-beat/cardinals-sign-all-star-beltran/article_d74d0942-2cb2-11e1-8aa9-001a4bcf6878.html

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