Free Agent Pass or Play: Carlos Beltran

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, November 02, 2013 08:00 AM | Comments: 5
Analysis, Features, Free Agency, Free Agent: Pass or Play 2013, Offseason, Opinion, Transactions

Each day until free agency begins, we at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will become a free agent five days from the conclusion of the World Series. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with switch-hitting outfielder Carlos Beltran. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.


Beltran signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals after a bounce-back 2011 where he hit .300/.385/.525 with 22 HRs. Then 34, Beltran was considered a great injury risk having played in only 81 and 64 games respectively in 2009 and 2010, but managed to land $26 million.

According to FanGraphs, Beltran slightly under-performed the $26 million value over 2012 and 2013 ($25.1 million of value) but drastically over-performed most expectations with a combined .282/.343/.493 in 1219 PA. Beltran was a key contributor to a pair of Cardinals teams that won three playoff series in two years, including an NL pennant.

Beltran has been Steady Eddie since attaining full health in 2011 but did have a career-low walk-rate and a career low two steals in 2013. Beltran is still an above-average hitter for average and power and also still has a great arm, as displayed in Game One of the NLCS when he threw out Mark Ellis at the plate. He likely no longer has the ability to steal double-digit bases and FanGraphs’ defensive metrics show a rapid drop off in performance, although, warnings about defensive metric volatility and all that apply.


The Phillies are obviously in need of at least one outfielder and they would prefer that player to be right-handed. As a switch hitter, Beltran has hit .286/.356/.530 as a righty against lefties in his career but hit only .252/.281/.448 last year in the same situations, down from .276/.329/.538 in 2012. If the Phillies are looking for someone to mash lefties, Beltran’s rapid deterioration against lefties as a righty should make them pause, as should his declining fielding.


According to FanGraphs’ awesome crowd sourcing project, Beltran will likely get a contract of two years for about $12 million to $13.5 million a year.


This one is tough – my instincts tell me Beltran, as a career .333/.445/.683 postseason hitter, would want to sign with a sure-fire contender. The Phillies don’t currently fit that bill. I’m not opposed to, however, putting veterans on one and two year deals in the outfield, particularly when they’re not blocking anyone with high upside. I don’t think Amaro will target Beltran specifically but I do think he could emerge as a fallback option if Amaro’s Plan A falls through.

Verdict: Play, But Tread Lightly

Beltran is pretty interesting. If the Phillies are able to nab a top five outfielder and still have a few million to spare, adding Beltran at that point would be worth it as an “all-in” move. If not, I don’t see Beltran as a good idea. He doesn’t add anything to the Phillies’ horrible defensive outfield and by the end of the second year, may not be much of an upgrade of what they already have.

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About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 875 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    The number of people that mention Carlos Beltran and the Phillies in the same breath is a sign of somewhere along the lines of forgetfulness that free agency is not a question of what kind of gun was held to the player’s head to get his x on a deal, and more evidence that there aren’t 30 plus clubs in business for the sake of, in this site’s case, the Phillies.

    In recent memory, we experienced pretty lunatical comments on the likes of Angel Sanchez, and Tim Lincecum. Some folk apparently live in the past more than they think the everpopular RAJ Jr. does.. Gone for now is the magical appeal, and winning probability/possibility of playing for the Phillies. Cliff Lee, Doc Halladay drooled at the possibity for what was THEN good reason. Odds are good that a player will not disregard geographic preference with a financial, or winning reason.

    While intimacy with players is reserved for family and special friends, there’s nothing wrong with guessing a player’s personal situation, but you do well to apply sense to taking a stab at where they will go. Marraige to the idea that a player will go to the highest bidder isn’t exactly fool’s thinking anymore, but not way far from it.

    Beltran, facts being what they are, is 37, and once again, a playoff victim of leaving the park ringless. As far back as 2010, when he was traded by the Mets, he was quoted as saying he wanted to play for a winner, topical because of his no trade clause. The boy still got a naked ring finger after all these marvelous seasons.

    And it’s hardly that there seems no reason to think playing for a winner is his only prereq. The ego of most money can’t be totally dismissed, but one does well to ask what, preytell is the connection to Philadelphia.

    Firstly, if he’s acclimated to the US, to where he’s considered fully American by now, he’s probably a New Yorker. His most secure years semed to be as a Met. He believably wanted to play for the Yankees at least once previously. Think the Yanks are going to make less effort than the Phils to rebuild their contender status this off season? Not a chance. And that doesn’t even include the possibility of staying a Cardinal, where, if he has been unhappy at all it’d be a shock.

    The Phils are at least an East Coast team. That gives them a sliver of a chance. But unless there are friends on the Phils, long lost relatives from anywhere from Marple Newtown to Kensington, and partnered with an overbid, Carlos will be wearing a visiting uni at the Bank one more time.

    You don’t just pluck free agent names out of the hat, and knock aside reality to the extent you are aware of it. The perception based on that combination is that there’s very, very little chance of Beltran Phillieing up. Mention of him as part of an off season strategy Plan A is pretty ridiculous.

  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    You only got 3 things wrong in your message.

    One, odds are steep that in saying the Cards will smartly reup with Beltran, you didn’t factor in their depth, or farm system. Neither signing him or letting him walk is necessarily smart. The Redbirds are in a position of large choice.

    Re the first FA move of signing Ellsbury, this isn’t fact, but Doug Melvin, despite a lack of a ring in forever offered this all time quote for the ages a few years back.

    Said Doug, “The only free agents who are overvalued are those that are signed early.”

    Asche, Biddle, Revere, and a young catcher for Stanton. You might actually be right on this one. After all, every time Asche gets a hit, he’s batting 1.000. Everytime Biddle strikes out 16, he wins. So that might be a more superior package than the Fish could get elsewhere in the market than I think. Have to chack my Hallmark and see when be kind to Ruben week is, and hope that some GM decides to honor the holiday.

  • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

    The marlins actually have Colin Moran at third base and they predict him to be ready by 2015 so they are really looking for a one year stop gap however they may be interested in asche and swap him to a different position

  • Posts: 0 Hogey's Role

    I agree with you on all of that… The only reason I brought up Moran is because I just read on mlb trade rumors that the marlins plan on him being ready by 15….
    However I don’t wanna biddle for anyone at this point…

  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    wbramh, are there any recent Phillies prospects who should have been in the majors at 21?

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