Nine years ago, Beltran was the hottest free agent on the market and would have taken a discount to play for the Yankees, but the Yankees chose to acquire starting pitching instead and passed on Beltran, who then signed with the New York Mets. After his contract expired in 2011, the Yankees again had a chance to land Beltran, who was a free agent, but they picked up Nick Swisher's option and Beltran signed with the St. Louis Cardinals on a two-year agreement.
While Beltran continues to tear up pitching in the postseason, he could be looking to tear up Yankee Stadium once the Cardinals season ends and hits the open market for a third time, as Mark Feinsand from the New York Daily News has reported that Beltran would have interest in signing with the Yankees for the 2014 season.
Mike Axisa from CBS Sports also confirmed the report as well, citing the team's need for a switch-hitting bat to put in the outfield and in the middle of the lineup that at times, greatly struggled to generate any kind of offense in the 2013 regular season.
The 36-year-old Beltran hit .296 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI for the Cardinals in 2013 and is currently trying to help the Cardinals win their second World Series in three years as they are playing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series; a series the Cardinals currently have a 2-1 lead in.
The interest in Beltran might be factored in on what Curtis Granderson does this winter when he too, is a free agent and will be offered a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the team. Some feel that he could turn it down with hopes of landing a multi-year deal in free agency elsewhere, whereas he could accept the deal to further enhance his value for the following season.
Beltran is also expected to receive a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals once the season is over, and if the veteran outfielder turns it down to sign elsewhere, St. Louis would receive a draft pick in exchange for Beltran's departure.
Beltran playing in the American League next season makes a lot of sense, because by then, he'll be 37 years old and could still play part time in the outfield, but may need to play quite a bit of games as the designated hitter to keep his body fresh and off the disabled list for the season. With Alex Rodriguez's future for the 2014 season in jeopardy with his on-going battle in court against Major League Baseball, the Yankees interest in Beltran makes sense.
If the Yankees really wanted to get greedy, they could always re-sign both Granderson and Beltran and have Beltran play as the primary DH, but the team also needs to have money to spend on a catcher such as Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves; a player who the Yankees are in fact interested in signing this winter.
With this news, Yankee fans all over may now salivate again from watching Beltran's clutch hitting in the 2013 postseason as he continues to get key hits, just like the one he got in Game 1 of the 2013 NLCS against the Dodgers that won the game in extra innings. Beltran is a career .333 postseason hitter with 16 home runs in 42 postseason games.
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