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Cardinals sign Carlos Beltran to two-year, $26M contract

Dec 22, 2011, 8:01 PM EDT

beltran getty orange Getty Images

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals agreed Thursday to a two-year, $26 million contract with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran. The deal includes a no-trade clause.

Beltran batted .300 with a .910 OPS, 22 home runs and 84 RBI in 142 games this past year between the Mets and Giants, and should help St. Louis cope somewhat with the loss of slugger Albert Pujols.

The 34-year-old Beltran will open the 2012 campaign as the Cardinals’ starting right fielder, but could slide over to center once postseason hero Allen Craig recovers from his November knee surgery. It’s a nice get for the Redbirds, who should have a plenty productive lineup if health is on their side in 2012. Here’s how the batting order might shake out on Opening Day:

SS Rafael Furcal
RF Carlos Beltran
1B Lance Berkman
LF Matt Holliday
3B David Freese
C Yadier Molina
2B Daniel Descalso
CF Jon Jay

With Adam Wainwright returning and Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook rounding out the rotation, the Cards should have no trouble staying competitive in year one without Albert.

  1. Ari Collins - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    He’s no Pujols, but a great short-term deal nonetheless.

    • fearlessleader - Dec 23, 2011 at 2:52 AM

      Totally agree, and the more I read about him, the more he sounds like a cool guy to have in town. Glad to have him as a Cardinal!

      Some fun stuff about Beltran:

      • chew1985 - Dec 23, 2011 at 6:41 AM

        A lot of people are already forgetting how good Albert was. Beltran is a very fragile ballplayer. Don’t expect similar results.

      • paperlions - Dec 23, 2011 at 9:57 AM

        No one is forgetting how good Albert “was”, but he isn’t that player anymore either.

        Beltran played 140+ games every year until he hurt his knee in 2009, then played 142 games last year while posting slightly better numbers than Pujols.

        No, it isn’t reasonable to expect Beltran to post those numbers again in 2012 and 2013….but it also isn’t reasonable to expect Pujols to post his 2008 number again either. The Cardinals should get about 3/4 the production of Pujols for 1/2 the price and 1/5 the years.

  2. dondada10 - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    The Cards would be better suited keeping Beltran out of center. If they play on getting around 300 games out of him, that is.

    • dwrek5 - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:23 PM

      Not a problem, Jay and Chambers.

      • 78mu - Dec 22, 2011 at 10:18 PM

        I bet the plan is for Chambers to play everyday in Memphis and Komatsu to be the fifth OF.

  3. okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    Any word if a “no trade” was given Drew?

    If asked, give it to him – no reason not to on a short term if it’s a deal breaker.

  4. okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    @TBrownYahoo is reporting “more than $25M guaranteed”.

  5. ballou0254 - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    And the least surprising move of the offseason goes to….

  6. okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    2 years, 26 million – no option.

    Details here:

  7. dwrek5 - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    I agree, I would bat Beltran 2nd, but I bet its Jay 2nd and move everyone down. MLB managers just cant seem to get past that “just make contact and move the runner over” in the 2nd spot.

    • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:27 PM

      I like Beltran batting 2nd as well, always nice to have someone with enough pop to get the leadoff guy home from first when the opportunity arises.

      Time to get that OBP up Mr. Furcal.

      • 78mu - Dec 22, 2011 at 10:12 PM

        The only good game in the WS Furcal had hitting was #7 when he was moved down in the order. Hopefully he can get close to his lifetime OBP. The scary thing is If he gets moved down next year it probably means Jay leading off.

      • crisisjunky - Dec 23, 2011 at 12:16 AM

        It’s interesting , I haven’t seen Allen Craig’s name in this entire thread. He is not in Siberia,
        and his M.D.’s anticipate his return near Opening day, so we should not hesitate to include him in the equation.
        Beltran will spend some time in C.F. this year. If He’s running free and easy enough, he should lead off as well. Always on base, clutch gamechangeability, a switch hitter with previous success in the role. Furcal moves down to break up the all righthanded bottom of the order.

  8. okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    And apparently a “full no trade”.

    It appears they overspent a bit along with the full NT to get out of a 3rd year, fair enough.

    • dwrek5 - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:35 PM

      Very true. If hes good, you keep him. If he sucks, you cant trade him anyway.

    • baseballisboring - Dec 23, 2011 at 4:26 AM

      That’s a good point…I’m sure the Cards expect to remain competitive the next two years, as they should, so they probably won’t have any reason to trade him anyway.

    • umrguy42 - Dec 24, 2011 at 2:35 PM

      You can say “overspent”, but I might point out – they got 2 years of Beltran for about what 1 year of Pujols is costing, while leaving room for mid-season acquisitions. Totally worth it if he stays healthy and produces.

  9. jrspike - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    Great, now let’s see the cards repeat. It sure would be nice to play in LA in October. Maybe Albert will watch the Cards win without him.

  10. ame123 - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    No Trade is no big deal. He had a NTC with the Mets too, those usually work themselves out, just gives the team less trading leverage. Beltran should still be a good player though, don’t think he’ll have a problem earning this contract.

  11. Jonny 5 - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    This was a smart move for the Cards. Beltran when healthy guarantees production.

  12. okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    The deal is “pending a physical” according to!/Cardinals

  13. sisqsage - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    The thinking at the start of FA was he would go to an AL club for three years and the chance to be a DH. The actual numbers and destination mean the Giants could have and should have kept him.

    • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:49 PM

      Good point for sure, unless the Giants know something the Cards don’t – yet.

      “Pending physical”…

      • marinersnate - Dec 23, 2011 at 12:16 AM

        All signings and trades are “pending physical”. It is not like it unique or something for Beltran.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 23, 2011 at 12:41 AM


        Obviously not Beltran specific but not “official” until he passes.

  14. stex52 - Dec 22, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Good move, Cards. I’m being greedy here with someone else’s money, but see if you can reel in Oswalt on some kind of two year deal at 10 MM$ per. Then I think you are stronger than they were last year without Albert’s paycheck.

  15. okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    As an aside, I hope Beltran’s knees don’t buckle when he walks into the clubhouse this spring and sees Wainwright.

    I know, a bit obvious….

    • yourenotfromhere - Dec 22, 2011 at 9:56 PM

      I have to say that when I think about the 2006 postseason, I remember Beltran watching Wainwright’s curve go by more than any moment in the World Series.

    • 78mu - Dec 22, 2011 at 10:01 PM

      My wallpaper is the picture of Yadi jumping in the air as the umpire gives Beltran the big punch-out. A nice reminder everyday to beware the Wainwright hook.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 22, 2011 at 10:23 PM

        Very cool.

        Knees buckling, Yadi jumping and Shea going dead silent.

        Gotta agree with yourenotfromhere above, that was the memory of 2006.

      • 78mu - Dec 22, 2011 at 11:58 PM


        Shea didn’t go dead silent. The Cardinals were yelling and screaming with joy and a few fans were booing Beltran. But it was quiet enough to hear the cheering coming all the way from St. Louis.

      • okwhitefalcon - Dec 23, 2011 at 12:14 AM

        I stand corrected 78mu, you’re scenario was indeed the case.

        Full circle for Beltran now, very ironic.

        Here’s to him contributing (again) to another Cardinal NL Pennant, this time with the birds on the bat across his chest.

    • stex52 - Dec 22, 2011 at 10:03 PM

      A bit obvious, but liked it anyway. I’m a bitter Houston fan. Watching the knees buckle cheered my whole winter that year.

  16. brockw82 - Dec 22, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    Ok I’m obviously late on this but I haven’t posted that often – more of a daily reader – what did Bicepts do to get banned, he was a poster I loved to hate lol.

    • Ari Collins - Dec 23, 2011 at 12:45 AM

      He loved to hate everyone else, and he started to get a bit too vocal about what @#*@%^ people were.

  17. baskallen1 - Dec 23, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    Awesome signing. Makes the team a playoff contender again!

  18. stlouis1baseball - Dec 23, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    Outstanding! I was hoping for a 2 year deal in lieu of 3. It appears they may have given him a few more dollars (along with the no trade clause)…to avoid that 3rd year.
    He provides much needed flexibility in the OF and you can hit him virtually anywhere in the lineup.
    I fully expect A.C. to be gone well into May (potentially longer).
    Carlos will go along way towards holding the fort down. Well done.

  19. chc4 - Dec 23, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Wow, talk about an overpay. Beltran was dreadful/injured until his contract year in ’11. Cards fans can expect a bust in 2012 followed by decent production in ’13. All that for $13m per year? No thank you.

    • paperlions - Dec 23, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      Yeah, he was horrible. Starting in 2006 he put up WARs of 7.9, 5.5, 7.6, and then 3.0 in 1/2 a season before hurting his knee in 2009. The struggled in 2010 while not fully recovered from knee surgery, then put up great offensive stats in 2011 with a 4.7 WAR. When healthy he has been very productive…but let’s ignore that and act like injuries have no effect on production.

      • chc4 - Dec 23, 2011 at 12:56 PM

        Whatever guy. He was a huge disappointment in NY between injury and performance. For a $5m salary he’s a steal. At $13m… not so much. Just wait.

        His knees are bone-on-bone…. it’s not like that will get better.

      • paperlions - Dec 23, 2011 at 1:04 PM

        Don’t you hate it when facts demonstrate that you are completely wrong? If anyone was disappointed in his play in NY, they weren’t paying attention.

        He had a bone bruise and then arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies. He did not have the cartilage removed from either knee, and he’s only had problems with one knee…but, hey, if you aren’t going to let his production get in the way of making shit up, don’t let facts about his health do so either.

    • stlouis1baseball - Dec 23, 2011 at 1:35 PM

      Fellows: Help me out here. Is this a Cubs fan talking about “overpaying” someone?
      Can’t be. Naw…I don’t believe it. I mean….can you say Alfonso Sorryasso?

  20. cintiphil - Dec 23, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    I think he is a bit over paid, but probably a good move by the redbirds. No one knows what he will do in his first or second year with them. I think it makes the birds a bit more favored in the division, but not by much.

  21. stlouis1baseball - Dec 23, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Alright…I am outta’ here until next week. Merry Christmas everyone!

  22. dickclydesdale - Dec 23, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Beltran is not the explosive 5 tool player he was 5 yrs ago, what he is a professional hitter with bad knees, deteriorated speed, a lazy outfielder who jogs for balls hit in the gaps and very fragile to the point where he will take himself out of the lineup when he breaks a nail.

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