Carlos Beltran’s name has had no problem finding its way into the early offseason rumor mill. However, that doesn’t mean a deal is close. Despite drawing interest from the Red Sox, Astros, and Rangers, it could take a while for a Beltran deal to come to fruition.
According to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post “a DH is no one’s top priority.”
“We’re not looking to sign just a DH,” Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox’s president of baseball operations, said Wednesday at the General Managers’ Meetings. “Really, in today’s game, the only way you have an exclusive DH is if you have someone like David Ortiz. It’s not to say that somebody may not settle in there most of the time, but your goal is to use the flexibility for players at this point and see how that all fits in.”
As far as points in Beltran’s favor, the switch-hitter did play 514 innings in the outfield and was just about replacement level by Ultimate Zone Rating. Jose Bautista was much worse, costing his team more than five runs defensively, while Edwin Encarnacion is only capable of playing first base—and not especially well either.
While the Red Sox are hesitant to commit, the Astros are rumored to be “hot” for Beltran according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. The Astros appear set to increase payroll for the upcoming season, and have been involved in rumors around Encarnacion, Miguel Cabrera, and Brian McCann to name a few. The Astros seem to have the most interest in Beltran at this point, but with so many other needs, it’s far from the likely landing spot at this point.
Meanwhile, the Rangers still appear to be an option, but they may have to outbid their state rival in order to keep him. Beltran was worth $18.4 million last season by FanGraphs’ $/WAR estimations, and will be entering his age-40 season in 2017. The veteran slugger could be looking for longer than a one-year deal though, and that may be too steep of a term for the Rangers to commit.