If Carlos Beltran is a Yankee, Sign Me Up

While most of the fantasy community is hip-deep in the football playoffs (myself included), there is still nothing more exciting for me than the MLB hot stove. Baseball has always been my first love and given the necessary preparation for keeper leagues, following the latest free agent movement and rumors is really what I love most about the winter. It doesn’t matter if it’s a marquee name or just a role-player hoping to establish a bigger role for himself with a new club, I track it all. If a player is moving into a favorable situation, I’m going to want to see if he’s worth drafting. If he’s headed somewhere that I think will be a detriment to his game, I’ll cross him off my draft lists. And with the latest rumors saying that Carlos Beltran is going to end up with the Yankees, I’m getting ready to bump him up on my draft sheets the moment he signs on the dotted line.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, the teams that are apparently most interested in signing Beltran are the Yankees, Tigers, Reds, Royals, Rangers, Orioles, Mariners and Red Sox. Obviously that’s quite a list, but considering he’s one of the bigger names out there, you have to expect that almost every team is, at least, going to kick the tires and check him out. Many will bow out due to the apparent request for either a three or four-year deal with an expected $15M per year sticker price; especially considering that he turns 37-years-old at the end of April. It’s difficult to imagine penny-pinching clubs like the Mariners or Royals staying in the mix, even though the Kansas City is where it all began.

Despite Beltran’s claim that he would prefer to stay in the National League, it would seem that the most likely destinations would be New York, Boston, Texas or Detroit. Beltran has spent the last two years playing right field (with a splash of center) for the Cardinals and if he were to sign on with either Cincinnati or Baltimore, he would have to either move over to left field or the team would have to move their current right-fielders, Jay Bruce and Nick Markakis, elsewhere. The Yankees currently have Ichiro Suzuki penciled in at right, but would be more than happy to move him if they were to land Beltran.

Now while the title of the post says Yankees, in truth, if he were to land in Texas, I would still bump him up on my draft sheets. Comerica Park plays like the Grand Canyon in comparison to the other three and if he were to head to Motown, we’d have to start discussing things like ‘average home run/fly ball distance’ and ‘just enoughs versus no doubts versus lucky home runs.’ Just a quick glance at the ballpark overlays on ESPN’s Home Run Tracker says it all. And in Boston, we’re probably looking at more doubles off the Big Green Monster than we are home runs when he bats from the right side of the plate. Doubles off the wall are obviously nice, but when it comes to fantasy, owners dig the long ball.

Given the obvious number of right-handed pitchers versus left-handers and Beltran’s splits, the short porch in right field for Yankee Stadium seems to play the best for him. However, the surrounding lineup in Texas will probably give him a bigger boost in RBI and potentially runs scored. Either landing spot makes him a strong fantasy play even at his age.

Some will point out the injury concerns, and while that’s definitely a factor, he has played in over 140 games in each of the last three years. An American League team can help ease the stress on his legs with a few turns at DH and a less cavernous outfield  will also be less-taxing for him. If he can maintain his plate discipline numbers — his swing rate increased in the last two years, but his swings inside the zone versus outside remained in proportion with his career rates — and stay healthy, he just may even find himself breaking the 30-home run barrier once again.

So yes, if he lands with the Yankees (or Rangers), sign me up.


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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site, RotobuzzGuy.com, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com

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jim Z.
jim Z.

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