Red Sox Must Sign Carlos Beltran
The Boston Red Sox will be looking to fill a major void left by the retiring David Ortiz. It has already been widely speculated and reported that Carlos Beltran in on their short-list of candidates to take over as the clubs designated hitter, and here is my case for Dave Dombrowksi to do exactly that.
First let’s start with his production. Between his time with the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers in 2016, Beltran slashed .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers, 33 doubles and 93 runs batted in. Even at 39-years-old, Beltran was still a forced to be reckoned with at the plate, which is why the Yankees cashed in and traded him to Texas when they made the choice to go into sell mode. The veteran switch-hitter can get it done from both sides of the plate and ranks fourth among active hitters with 421 career home runs.
The contract demands for Carlos Beltran will likely not be as steep as some of the other guys on the market, both in length and average annual salary. MLB Trade Rumors projected Beltran to land a one-year deal worth $14M. That would come in well south of guys like Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, and also wouldn’t cost Boston a first round pick since he could not be tendered a qualifying offer due to the trade. Boston has David Ortiz coming off the books in 2017 and a one-year deal for around $16M could basically supplant him as far as the team’s payroll is concerned.
Beltran also presents the Red Sox with flexibility in a variety of different areas. Beltran can still play the outfield and take time in left field, allowing for guys like Hanley Ramirez to get a day off their feet and serve as the designated hitter. With Pablo Sandoval back into the picture, adding Beltran to a crop that includes Travis Shaw, Ramirez and Andrew Benintendi leaves battles open to be fought over. Signing Beltran can also leave the Red Sox in a favorable position should they trade a guy like Jackie Bradley Jr. for a front-line starter should the opportunity present itself.
Signing Beltran to a one-year deal also gives Boston a bridge to their next core of young prospects knocking on the door of the Major Leagues. That crop includes Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada and Sam Travis. The latter may be able to compete for a spot in 2017, but coming off a major knee surgery, Boston will likely want to take it slow and give Travis more at bats in the minor leagues.
Another major reason why Boston needs to make the move to sign Carlos Beltran is the impact he will make in the room. With Ortiz now retired, the Red Sox will be in need of another veteran voice to mentor along younger players and keep other veterans in line. Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, in an interview with the Boston Globe, voiced his support for the presence Carlos Beltran has in the clubhouse: “He’s a leader. Great to his teammates. Gave himself to his teammates. He was like having an extra coach, an extra hitting coach. Just a tremendous asset. Very approachable. He led by example and really gave his experience to anyone in that clubhouse. He was a special one.” A resounding endorsement if I ever heard one, Beltran is just the guy the Red Sox need in the room.
The Red Sox must make the addition of Carlos Beltran a top priority this off-season. His veteran presence in the room, the flexibility he gives the team, the low contract demands and the production he is putting out from the dish all cultivate to Carlos Beltran being a very wise short-term investment. After all, the Red Sox inquired on Beltran last July before he was dealt to Texas, and if they were willing to part with prospects and send them to New York, they will certainly tab Beltran as a replacement for David Ortiz.
The Red Sox must add Carlos Beltran this winter. It is best for business.
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