Carlos Beltran isn’t planning on retiring and wants to return to the Rangers according to TR Sullivan of MLB.com. The 39-year old switch-hitting outfielder is eligible for free agency having just completed his three-year deal originally signed with the Yankees.
Prior to this season, it appeared Beltran was entering a sharp decline in productivity. In 2014, Beltran was below replacement level with the Yankees, and hit three percent below the league average by wRC+. A bounce-back campaign in 2015, and an even better 2016 helped to rehabilitate his major league value. Out of contention, the Yankees flipped him to a contender as a rental for a package of three prospects that included the fourth overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, Dillon Tate.
Carlos Beltran says he will play next year...hopes it's Rangers but it will definitely be somewhere...no plans to retire— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) October 11, 2016
The Rangers were aggressive enough at the trade deadline to help cement themselves as the team with the best record in the American League, however, were win a single postseason game, getting swept by the wild card Blue Jays.
Regardless of how the season ended though, Beltran appears to have enjoyed playing there. From Gerry Fraley of SportsDay:
"I really did enjoy myself here," Beltran said. "The time I spent here with a special group of guys was amazing. There was a great chemistry that I was able to be part of. Right now, I want to go home and take a mental break and decide what's next for my career."
While that is certainly non-committal, the report later surfaced that Beltran does not wish to retire.
With the pending free agent crop somewhat scant, Beltran could present an affordable, short-term option for a team looking to add a veteran presence. That being said, Beltran’s time in the field could be over, at least for the most part. Beltran could make a serviceable fourth outfielder, the way he did with the Rangers, but almost all of his value is incumbent on his occupancy of a lineup’s DH spot. Whether teams want to commit to a nearly 40-year-old DH will remain to be seen, but the Rangers do seem like a fit.