Report: Yankees considered pursuit of Beltran


Via Bob Klapisch, the Yankees toyed around with the idea of pursuing Carlos Beltran as a free agent earlier this winter. They consider him an upgrade over Nick Swisher, but they ultimately passed because of Beltran’s balky knees. Klapisch’s source likened the situation to Hideki Matsui, who was allowed to leave after 2009 because of his knee problems.

Back in October we heard that the Yankees were discussing Beltran in team meetings, but that was so early in the offseason it was hard to believe it was anything more than due diligence. Beltran parlayed his bounceback .389 wOBA, 4.7 fWAR season into a two-year, $26M contract with the Cardinals late last week. Given the return for similar players, it’s hard to believe Swisher would have landed the Yankees anything more than a pair of decent prospects in a trade. Certainly not a quality starting pitcher without adding prospects into the deal.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. Behind Enemy Lines says:

    Now just pay Jones his $8-10M over two years and be done with it.

    For the price though, Beltran was worth it.

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      Jones earned $1.5 mil last year, and while he was productive (in limited duty), there is no way he parlays that into $8-10 mil.

      There’s no way to tell right now if the price for Beltran will be worth it. That will depend primarily on his health over the next two years.

      • Behind Enemy Lines says:

        Andruuuuuw has been worth 3 WAR over the last 3 years. He’s a guy that could easily step into a starting role if necessary at either corner. He’s worth it when the alternative is the Maxwell/Golson/Curtis of the world.

        • CJ says:

          Then there’s the gardner granderson swishers of the world that are capable of playing 156-162 barring injury which is unpredictable. Dickerson is a true 4th OF rest and rotate guy.

          • Behind Enemy Lines says:

            Except Gardner should never be playing against LHP. And Montero should be catching 50-75 games. That leaves 100-125 games at LF/DH. The majority of those should not be going to a noodle bat like Maxwell/Dickerson. They’re 5th OFs, nothing more.

            • Need Pitching says:

              Montero won’t catch anywhere near 75 games this year (unless Martin gets hurt, and even the he may not catch that often)

              Gardner last 2 years vs. LHP, 91 wRC+, .679 OPS, .361 OBP certainly below average, but with elite defense and good base stealing thrown in, he’s still providing value against lefties

              Just for reference, Jeter last 2 years vs. RHP, 76 wRC+, .648 OPS, .321 OBP, with average defense, and much less of a base stealing threat

              If Jeter is good enough to play everyday, certainly Gardner is

              • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                Jeter is a whole nother story. He should be a part-time player.

                Gardner is declining fast against LHP. Averaging over two hides that fact. They’re challenging him and he’s failing badly. He could be a platoon guy as soooooooon as this year. Even more reason to spend on Andruuuuuuuuuuuuuw.

                • Need Pitching says:

                  not sure just 124 PA can be pointed to as evidence of decline more than just small sample size fluctuation

                  I guess my overall point though is that the Yankees seem to be operating with very limited payroll flexibility this offseason. Given that, 4-5M a year for a platoon OF who isn’t likely to get much more than the 222 PA he got last year isn’t a very efficient use of resources. I can see 2-3M tops with PA incentives thrown in.

                • CJ says:

                  Wow! Seriously? Troy Tulowitzki is the only hands down guarantee SS in MLB to kick Jeter to the bench. Hanley 2011, Hammy Reyes, Asdrubal’s 1 season, JJ scrap heap Hardy do not make Jeter a back up infielder, loyalty and good feelings aside.

                  • Need Pitching says:

                    platoon is different from backup, though pretty much any SS that would make a good platoon option with Jeter is good enough to start full-time somewhere else, so finding a solid platoon partner for Jeter would be very difficult

    • CJ says:

      Forget it. A nice season serviceable 4th OF right handed bat. Let’s take it easy, 1/3 or good luck to you sir.

      • Behind Enemy Lines says:

        Those are few and far between. You pay a premium to fill the slot. Better than spending $24M on literally nothing from two LOOGYs.

  2. Bronx Byte says:

    Beltran could have been used in various ways to accumulate 450 or so at bats.
    Girardi likes to rest players at different times during the season. If Granderson had a day off or were used as a LH-DH, Gardner could play CF and put Beltran in LF.
    If Martin were given a day off, Montero or Cervelli catches and Beltran is the DH.
    If Teixeira was given a day off or used as a DH, Swisher could play 1st base and Beltran used in RF.
    No Yankee player is used for 162 games.
    The idea of Beltran replacing Swisher was never the plan. Even Jones and Posada were not exclusively DH’s in 2011.

    • Behind Enemy Lines says:

      If they gave Montero the starts he needs at C, there would have also been room for Beltran. Martin shouldn’t be a normal 100 game starter. He needs more rest than even Beltran does.

  3. Favrest says:

    Cashman considered a lot of things, but did nothing.

  4. Dropped Third Superstar says:

    Russell Martin should be a starter. He has great defense and is a decent play caller. Even if he hits his .240/.320/.410 thats not a big deal in the yankees lineup. He should get 100+ starts and that will allow them to slowly break in montero at C. If the kids not bad, 2013 he becomes the regular C. We do not need bad knees beltran taking ABs from montero and starts from Martin at C.

    • Behind Enemy Lines says:

      He wears down with more playing time. They’d make better use of him if he started 80 games.

    • CJ says:

      I would trade Martin and use montero romine cervelli. Free up that money. Martin is FA next year and you can’t give him a multiple year deal with catcher being yanks strongest prospect position. Also whatever Martin would sign for would be an unmovable contract, if it’s not already. There are not many contending teams in need of a decent but expensive catcher.

      • So you’d trade the Yankees’ best catcher and hand the keys to two catchers who are not good defensively (Montero + Cervelli) and one who’s had virtually no time in the majors (Romine)? Yeah, not a good plan. It’s also worth noting that Martin probably doesn’t have as much trade value as you think and is worth a lot more to the Yankees as a starting catcher than as a trade piece. His salary is not prohibitive and I definitely think it’s worth at least thinking about extending him after this year.

        • Behind Enemy Lines says:

          Martin is just as likely to implode via injury than to show more. The guy was sub-.650 OPS last year after April. That’s a Sal Fasano level of suckfest.

          • Every player ever is just as likely to implode due to injury. Martin’s probably not going to show more on offense, whatever that means, but he doesn’t need to. He offers fine offense for a catcher and is a top defender behind the plate. They don’t need him to be anything more on offense

            • Behind Enemy Lines says:

              Your first statement is utter nonsense. Martin was non-tendered for a reason and with how he worn down after April it was obvious. When they have a guy who can be huge at bat and good enough behind the dish, the difference is a few wins per year. That could be all the difference between making the playoffs and sitting home.

              Martin is valuable so long as he’s used well. He’s not a full-time starter. For all of June and July last year he was below a .600 OPS. That’s well below replacement level. He was worth 1.3 fWAR. Montero could easily be worth 4 or 5 WAR. Then of course, Martin sucked in the post-season, likely because he was so worn down.

              • Clearly, they don’t believe Montero is good enough behind the dish. Martin is quite obviously good enough behind the the plate and isn’t an offensive zero for the position. I’m not saying catch him 140 games like Torre did in LA. I think he should probably catch 110-120 like last year with Montero filling in when necessary.

                Who was worth 1.3 fWAR? Martin was worth 3.1 last year.

                • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                  What 22 year old is good enough behind the dish? The Yankees f’ed Posada’s early years and now you’re going to trust them?

                  1.3 bWAR:

                  And he caught 118 games last year…and sucked in half of them. Then sucked in the post-season. He gave up almost 100 stolen bases. The only things he does well are block pitches and frame them. Make him Burnett and Hughes personal caddy. He sucks in a full-time role. The evidence is obvious at this point.

                  • Mike Axisa says:

                    Jorge Posada is a borderline Hall of Famer. It’s hard to claim they screwed up anything with him and be taken seriously.

                    • dean says:

                      I don’t even think he’s borderline. When you put his numbers up against other catchers that are in and then factor in five rings I see him as a HOFer. Jorge is one of the more underrated Yankees ever

                    • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                      Yeah, those first few years were really handled well! He won’t be making the HOF exactly because of them. Quick: How old was he when he got his first 600 PA year? Hint: That was the same year he first started >100 games behind the dish.

                      Yup, the model of handling a young catcher well, right there!

                    • Mike Axisa says:

                      Did it ever occur to you that if he played more when he was younger that he probably would have burned out sooner? I’m guessing not.

                      Posada turned into a borderline HOFer and they won the WS every year early in his career. What’s the problem here? Your “argument” makes no sense.

                    • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                      Dude, he became full-time starter when he was 28 years old. That’s hardly a feather in the Yankees cap, especially with how little they’ve developed anyone throughout the Cashman Era.

                      Furthermore, did it ever occur to you that young players recover from injuries better? Because all you’ve got for an “argument” now is a hypothetical with exactly no evidence.

                    • Mike Axisa says:

                      My argument is a hypothetical? Your evidence is “he wasn’t a full-time catcher until he was 28.” It’s really hard to see how Posada’s career could have possibly turned out any better.

                    • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                      ORLLY? It’s really hard to see how he could have started playing full-time before he turned 28? How that could have given him a few more peak seasons?

                      Moreover, the team suffered through Girardi’s suckfest in 1997 (.649 OPS) and especially in the ALDS (.321 OPS). They might just have one more ring had they developed Posada properly. Recall, the questions about his glove made them overly dependent on Girardi.

                      My argument was based on that history and how they’re about to repeat it with Montero and Martin, regardless if Montero has a career like Posada’s. Martin sucked for half of 2011. He sucked in the 2011 post-season. How many PAs did Montero get in the ALDS? How many did Posada get in 1997?

                  • You’d said fWAR in the first post, sorry.

                    The only things he does well are block pitches and frame them.

                    Which are two pretty important facets of catching. He’s also good at throwing runners out, considering he threw out 40 of them last year, tying him for the league lead (something he’s done consistently for the past few seasons). It’s also worth noting that those are the two things we’ve heard Montero is bad at. We’ve heard he’s got a good arm, but is too big to be quick out of the crouch when it comes to throwing out runners. It’s not hard to understand why the Yankees are hesitant to have him catch full time. I’m not saying don’t catch Montero at all; I’m saying he should be used in the back up role while he DHs the rest of the time. That way, his bat stays in the lineup and his defensive shortcomings are minimized.

                    • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                      He’s emphatically not good at preventing SBs when he gave up almost 100 of them. He caught alot because they were running at will. You’re stretching hard if that’s a plus for you.

                      And I’m not saying Martin is terrible. But he shouldn’t be catching more than 100 games. Last year showed that even 118 is too many.

                      100 games to Martin and 62 to Montero is a very good start.

                    • I could probably live w/a 100/62 split.

          • Also worth noting that Cervelli and Romine are likely to be worse hitters than Martin, while Montero is likely to be a disaster behind the plate if given 100+ games of catching.

            • Behind Enemy Lines says:

              You know this how? Because you shat it out your ass and since it felt like a diamond you called it as such?

              Few hitters are worse than a .600 OPS. This nonsense that Martin frames pitches well so it justifies how much he sucks otherwise needs to stop. He threw out 30% of runners. He had 10 errors. That’s hardly great. On top of his bat, we’re exactly looking at 1 to 2 WAR players. That’s hardly irreplaceable.

              The myth of shitty catchers continues…perpetuated by guys like Scioscia and Girardi.

              • Because Cervelli’s a shitty hitter and Romine seems to have plateaued on offense. His only real progression in the minors has been walk rate, which is nice to see, but will only get him so far in the majors.

                Few hitters are worse than a .600 OPS.

                Yup. And Russell Martin isn’t a sub .600 OPS player.

                This nonsense that Martin frames pitches well so it justifies how much he sucks otherwise needs to stop

                You don’t like a conclusion others have reached, therefore it is invalid. I’m not saying that study is 100% right and we should take it as 100% truth, but it’s a lot more well thought out than what you just said.

                He threw out 30% of runners.

                And tied for first in the AL with 40 runners caught stealing. He allowed a lot, too, but that’s not all on him. The Yankees are notoriously bad at holding runners on.

                He had 10 errors.

                Yeah, that’s not so great. But, would Montero be any better? Probably not.

                • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                  “Yup. And Russell Martin isn’t a sub .600 OPS player.”

                  For half of 2011 he was.

                  “You don’t like a conclusion others have reached”

                  No, it’s only one facet of catching. The others he doesn’t do very well at all. Almost 100 extra bases is not a great catcher.

                  “The Yankees are notoriously bad at holding runners on.”

                  So then having Montero back there won’t matter either way. He’s certainly not going to give up 200 SBs. If anything is strong about his defense, it’s his arm.

                  “But, would Montero be any better? Probably not.”

                  WIth his bat, he doesn’t need to be better. Glad to see your goal posts moving though.

                  • Need Pitching says:

                    “For half of 2011 he was.”

                    way to cherry pick your stats
                    so the other half of the season doesn’t count, right?
                    he was .732 OPS overall, which is damn solid for a catcher, especially a good defensive catcher

                    So your entire premise is basically that Martin doesn’t hit well when he is slumping. Simply earth shattering analysis.
                    He had a .932 OPS in August. If his struggles were simply because he was wearing out, why wasn’t he worn out in August?

                    and for the steals, the running wild was solely dependent on who was the mound, both returning starters with similar IP counts from 2010-2011 yielded fewer SB in 2011 (down from 37 to 24 for AJ, 15 to 11 for CC)

              • Mike Axisa says:

                Few hitters are worse than a .600 OPS.

                True, but Cervelli and Romine are likely two of them, and they aren’t the defenders Martin is.

                • Behind Enemy Lines says:

                  “likely”? Yeah, no. And if so, they belong no where near the MLB team.

                  Still, Cervelli has almost a full season of PAs under his belt and he’s been far better than that.

    • JU says:

      If Martin is that good of a “play caller,” the Giants should hire him, and finally dump Kevin Killdrive.

  5. Bronx Byte says:

    We do not need bad knees beltran taking ABs from montero and starts from Martin at C.

    Beltran is not a catcher. If Martin were given a day off after a night game, Montero would get his at bats as a catcher while Beltran got at bats as the DH.

  6. Glad this didn’t go down. The fascination with trading Swisher is just baffling to me.

    • CJ says:

      Agreed. This doesn’t make sense. Beltran is an upgrade over swish in October but we would spend the season holding our breath over his
      knees. Yanks don’t kneed more question marks? I can see the quote for august 1st “Yankees didn’t upgrade at the trade deadline because they think Beltran’s return from DL will be like a key acquisition”

  7. CJ says:

    I propose trading betances for a minor league, ML ready OF of similar prospect status. I don’t understand why teams don’t trade prospects for prospects more often. When they do it’s out of options roster space moves. Another consideration would be mason Williams for an OF with a lower ceiling but major league ready.

  8. LarryM.,Fl. says:

    Why do some Yankee fans not see the value in Nick Swisher especially at 10.5 million. The guy hits about .270 with 25 hrs and about 90-100 RBI’s. He plays and average RF with super catches and some circus like acts but it averages out.

    Yes, Nick has looked lost in the playoffs but his time will come in the fall classic. He hits well from both sides and stays healthy except for occasional arm strains. He’s not going to bring a big name pitcher to our team by himself. Cashman knows what he has. Lets move on to another avenue of how to improve the team as opposed to weakening it.

    • johnfish says:

      Why exaggerate the numbers? Swisher has never driven in as many as 90 runs in any of his 3 years as a Yankee and only once in his career(95 in 2006 with the A’s). His lifetime BA is .260, and he only only batted higher than .262 once(.288 in 2010); in his other 2 years with the Yankees, he batted .249 & .260.

  9. paranoid android says:

    Prudent decision. If they had dealt Swisher and Beltran goes down then they would have been screwed.

    Swisher may be cringe-worthy at times, but he’s durable as hell.

  10. Plank says:

    Given the return for similar players, it’s hard to believe Swisher would have landed the Yankees anything more than a pair of decent prospects in a trade. Certainly not a quality starting pitcher without adding prospects into the deal.

    I would think also that anyone looking to add a one year upgrade in RF would be looking to contend next season making them giving up a SP even less likely.

  11. Tyrone Sharpton says:

    And I have considered tasting my shit and urine to see what it’s like. “Considered” means nothing.

    • Axisa'a Ex-Boyfriend says:

      I just threw up in my mouth a little.

      A similar occurrence to whenever Mike Axisa would ‘throw his hot dog down my hallway…’

  12. CMP says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Swisher traded in a package with one of the back of the rotation staters in AAA like Phelps or Warren and maybe Nunez in a package for a middle-front of the rotation AAA starter. There has to be some team interested in parlaying a good but not elite level starting pitcher prospect for a starting SS, RFer and a young cheap starting pitcher.

    Then sign Cespedes to replace Swisher.

    • Yup; replace one of the most consistent outfielders in baseball with a complete unknown. Winning strategy.

      • Behind Enemy Lines says:

        Yeah, I’m not sure what the fascination is with Cespedes. People should be smarter than Youtube videos.

        Who can name the last impact position player from Cuba? Kendrys is hardly great.

      • CMP says:

        OK. Sign Cespedes and send hm to AAA to start the year. If he’s doing well in AAA, trade Swisher at the Deadline for a good starting pitcher prospect and promote Cespedes.

        Last year, the Mets got Zach Wheeler from SF for a half year of Betltran. I’m sure there will be some team in a race looking for more production from corner OF or 1st base.

        • Behind Enemy Lines says:

          Swisher won’t get you that. Swisher ain’t Beltran.

          • CMP says:

            You could always throw something else in to sweeten the deal a bit. I doubt there are gonna be a surplus of offensive players of Swishers caliber available for a stretch run who have a very reasonable salary.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

        But if the Yankees are serious about reducing payroll, which they seem to be, then Cespedes may not be a bad replacement.

        • CMP says:


          The Yankees have no one on the farm even close to being ready to replace him and I’d rather not give Swish the 3/$45 million deal it will probably take to keep him

  13. Nathan says:

    Didn’t Beltran say he wanted to play for the Yankees but the Yankees ended up signing someone else and Beltran went to the Mets? I think I read it in Torre’s book…I forget who they signed instead of Beltran.

    Either way, Beltran at this point would be a nice addition but not really needed. Back when he was a FA last time, yes.

    • Plank says:

      They had already traded for Randy Johnson so they couldn’t take on more payroll. Right before he signed with the Mets, Beltran went to the Yankees and offered them a discount if he could play for them. They weren’t able to do it. It killed me because I was pulling for signing him all off-season. The Yankees wanted to improve their pitching, but they must not have realized that the best thing they could do to improve their pitching would have been to get a real CF like Beltran instead of the statue that was Bernie Williams.

      • Nathan says:

        Ahh, that’s what it was. I knew it was going one way or Beltran and, in hindsight, the Beltran move looked way better.

  14. RetroRob says:

    Most Yankees fans do. The vocal minority are not representative.

  15. duzzi23 says:

    The Yankees consider everyone until they require actual decent money or trading of prospects. That being said Beltran is no big loss and I wouldn’t want him anyway.

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