Yankees Rumors: New York a Favorite to Land Carlos Beltran

The New York Yankees are one of the four early favorites to sign free agent designated hitter Carlos Beltran according to reports.

Rob Bradford of WEEI lists the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, and Houston Astros as the four MLB clubs who have shown the most interest in Carlos Beltran during the early days of the offseason, citing “a source familiar with the negotiations.” He also reveals that the Texas Rangers, who acquired Beltran from the Yankees at the trade deadline, are “not involved at this point.”

The Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros all have openings at designated hitter for next season and are expected to be aggressive this offseason, so their inclusion on the list is no surprise.

The Blue Jays seem like an odd fit after signing Kendrys Morales, as both he and Beltran fit best at DH at this point in their careers. With both their left and right fielders possibly leaving as free agents, however, they could see Beltran as at least a part-time solution in an outfield corner.

Beltran seems especially appealing for the Yankees because of their payroll constraints and desire to transition to a younger team. Other veteran sluggers who are available, like Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Yoenis Cespedes, are expected to command hefty multi-year deals, while it seems likely Beltran will have to settle for a one-year pact for his age-40 season.

MLB Trade Rumor expects Beltran to sign for around one year and $14 million, while Dave Cameron of FanGraphs thinks he will get a second year at a slightly lower annual value, for a total of two and $24 million. If Beltran does want a second year, I would expect that would drive the Yankees out of the bidding.

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Even at age 40, Beltran seems like a good bet to provide solid production as a DH. He hit .295/.337/.513 (122 OPS+) with 29 home runs and 93 RBI in 593 plate appearances. He was very durable considering his age, although it did seem like he was starting to slow down in the second half after being dealt to Texas.

Even though they are technically rebuilding, I think the Yankees are close enough to contention in 2017 that it makes sense to bring in a veteran bat like Beltran to beef up the middle of the order. All of the top young guys will get plenty of playing time this year, and if Beltran doesn’t produce, it’s easy enough to cut him loose on a one-year deal.

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