Posted on November 9, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Carlos Beltran says he has every intention of playing in 2017, and it appears that the free agent will have no trouble finding a job. At this point in his career, Beltran is likely limited to being a DH, although he could play right field occasionally, but he may only be appealing to American League teams. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox are reportedly showing the strongest levels interest in Beltran, who will turn 40 in April.
A source has told the New York Daily News that the Astros are “hot” for Beltran. Of course, Beltran spent the second half of the 2004 with the Astros, helping Houston reach the playoffs. He hit .435 with eight home runs in 12 postseason games that year, helping him land a lucrative deal with the New York Mets the following offseason. Even since he signed that deal with the Mets, Beltran has been booed by fans whenever he returns to Houston.
Aside from that rocky relationship with the fans, Houston would be an interesting destination for Beltran. The Astros have Evan Gattis as a regular DH, and they may also need to find at bats for Yulieski Gurriel at DH in 2017, and so Houston may have to shift some things around if they want to make Beltran their full-time DH next year.
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The Red Sox also appear to be making a push for Beltran. Earlier this week, a source told ESPN that the Red Sox “want him badly.” Beltran would be a great replacement for David Ortiz. However, Boston President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski has indicated that the Red Sox may not necessarily sign a big-money free agent to replace Ortiz. With a slew of highly rated prospects on the verge of the big leagues and the return of Pablo Sandoval from injury, the Red Sox may not need to sign a player like Beltran to be their DH, even if he’d be an otherwise ideal replacement for Ortiz.
The two teams Beltran played with in 2016, the Yankees and Rangers, also appear to have interest in bringing him back in 2017, although that interest may not be as strong as that of the Astros and Red Sox. There has been speculation that the Rangers could use Shin-Soo Choo as their primary DH in 2017 to help keep him healthy after an injury-plagued 2016, which would make it hard to justify signing Beltran. The Yankees, meanwhile, figure to use Brian McCann as their primary DH in 2017, so it’s possible they would only look at Beltran if they can trade McCann.
One more wrinkle that could factor into where Beltran ends up is whether he’d be satisfied with a one-year deal or if he might hold out hope for a two-year offer. After hitting .295 with 29 home runs in 2016, it’s not hard to imagine Beltran having more than one productive season left in him, especially if he rarely has to worry about playing the outfield. Whether he receives a multi-year offer remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Beltran already has several suitors this offseason, and the battle for his services should be interesting to watch play out this winter.