The New York Yankees are still spending. The team has agreed to a three-year, $45 million contract with outfielder Carlos Beltran, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News and Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, who first reported the figure.
The addition of Beltran comes on an already-busy day for the Yankees, who already re-signed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda and lost sluggers Robinson Cano (Mariners) and Curtis Granderson (Mets) to big-money deals elsewhere. Beltran is the fourth major free agent to sign in the Bronx so far this winter, joining Kuroda, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury. The Yankees have committed sixteen years and $299 million to their four free agents, showing that they are back to being baseball's most aggressive spenders.
Beltran, 36, drew serious interest from the Tigers, Red Sox, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Reds and Royals this offseason, and even reportedly had a three-year, $48 million offer in hand at one point. The Royals seemed to be making a strong push as of the beginning of the week, but the Yankees' willingness to give him a third guaranteed year was likely the turning point in negotiations.
According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks met with Beltran in Phoenix earlier in the week and made him a three-year offer worth "north of" the $45 million he got from the Yankees. The Royals also were aggressive on the slugger, meeting with him in Kansas City on Tuesday.
Beltran will join a revamped Yankees' outfield along with Ellsbury and Brett Gardner, likely causing Ichiro to join fellow ex-stars Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells on the most expensive bench in baseball history. The team could trade Ichiro in the near future, as teams have reportedly begun to express preliminary interest.
In 145 games for the NL Champion Cardinals in 2013, Beltran hit .296 with 24 HR and 84 RBI. Over sixteen major league seasons, he is a lifetime .283 hitter with 358 HR and 1327 RBI.