It seems the market for Carlos Beltran has narrowed down to four teams: The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers, who he finished last season with.
The 40-year old slugger who is still decent enough to play defense in the outfield (but obviously less than before), and coming off two strong seasons he’s seen as someone worth spending some money on. How much? Probably around $15 million on a one-year deal, maybe a bit less. Beltran earned $15 million in each of his last three seasons, starting 2016 with the Yankees but moving to the Rangers via trade in the summer.
The Yankees and the Red Sox are favorites to land Beltran, with an opening at DH which helps them keep him off the field when playing defense. The Rangers enjoyed what Beltran gave them in his short time with the team, but might find it difficult to compete with two teams with much deeper pockets. The Astros have Evan Gattis who has a $5.2 million-deal occupying the DH position, but that isn’t something that will prohibit them from going after Beltran.
The 1999 AL Rookie of the Year made his ninth All-Star game last season, and has done remarkably well over the last two seasons; not just for his age, but in general, batting .286 through 284 appearances, good enough for a .830 OPS. He slugged 48 home runs, while finishing with a 1.7 WAR during his 2016 stint with the Yankees. Nothing eye-popping, but well worth the time and money spent on him, even at his age, going through some sort of renaissance after a rough start to his time with the Yankees back in 2014.
One thing holding up Beltran finding a new team is the remaining free agency of both Yoenis Cespedes and Edwin Encarnacion. Once the two premier hitters of the 2016-2017 free agency class get their deals done, things will fall into place. That’s especially true regarding the Yankees and Red Sox who are going after Encarnacion and maybe Cespedes as well, although his strongest links are to the Mets and Dodgers. This might give the Astros and Rangers an edge, if they manage to deliver a lucrative enough offer very soon.