With much speculation that Edwin Encarnacion being the big target in free agency, a report surfaced that Carlos Beltran may be in the Boston Red Sox plans.
It’s the offseason: there’s going to be tons of rumor fodder for the next few months. Yet, when a report from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports came to light that the Red Sox might be looking at Beltran as another option, if the Edwin plan falls flat, people take notice.
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Heyman stated, “This should not be a surprise as Boston is looking at the top of the market first, and Beltran figures to be a shorter deal than Encarnacion — one or two years, as he turns 40 in April. In addition, as a mid-season acquisition, Beltran cannot be extended a qualifying offer, meaning — unlike Encarnacion — he would not cost the Red Sox a draft pick to sign.”
Heyman added, “positionally, Beltran may be a slightly better fit since he can play left field.” He does not forget to mention Andrew Benintendi‘s name, but he adds him to the list of all the other left fielders in the last few years trying to cement their place in the outfield for Boston.
Source or fantasy, the switch-hitting 40-year-old batted .295 with 29 home runs and 93 RBIs between playing for the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers, last season. There was a bit of a dropoff between the .308 with the Bronx Bombers, but nobody would consider .280 with the Rangers after the trade a huge decline in skills.
However, it’s also worth noting that Beltran hit just .182 in 11 at-bats against the Toronto Blue Jays in this year’s playoffs. Not that the Red Sox bats were any hotter.
During Beltran’s long career, he had his best hitting days in Fenway Park. In 155 at-bats, Beltran hit .335 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs. Yet, Beltran hit only .204 against the Tampa Bay Rays and .243 against the Blue Jays, two of the Red Sox division rivals. He has hit .292 against the Baltimore Orioles and .290 against the Yankees.
Sep 30, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers designated hitter Carlos Beltran (36) hits a home run in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Now, before everyone gets on the Beltran bandwagon, do the Red Sox really need another outfielder?
It’s practically unanimous that the team needs another bat, now that designated hitter David Ortiz is gone; however, Benintendi is only 22 years old and hit .295 in 105 at-bats. Imagine the unlocked potential when he has a full season underneath him. Even when most of the Red Sox bats went ice cold against the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series, the youngster earned three hits, including a home run and two RBIs, in only nine at-bats. His production seems to be verging on a breakout season, next year. Are the Red Sox really looking to replace that possibility with a 40-year-old who would produce the same amount, if not less?
No way does it look like Beltan’s skills are diminishing in the slightest, but replacing one bat with another is not what the Red Sox need right now. Beltran doesn’t seem like he wants to be the DH every game, he wants to play in the outfield. If the money’s right, maybe he would consider it, but that’s still speculation. Almost all of this is speculation.
The plan should still be to either replace Ortiz’s DH bat with another DH like Encarnacion or someone like Pablo Sandoval who is already on the roster. Getting another outfielder to join the many solid players that the Red Sox already have and max out the bank on him seems a stretch. Anything is possible in the offseason, and maybe Beltran wouldn’t mind being the DH, but let’s wait and see about this one.