After winning the World Series, the St. Louis Cardinals turned their attention to re-signing Albert Pujols. They couldn't get it done, as Pujols bolted for the Angels, but the Cardinals didn't have to look far for a replacement. Pujols is represented by agent Dan Lozano. Agent Dan Lozano also represents Carlos Beltran. Carlos Beltran was a free agent. And Thursday, Beltran and the Cardinals reached a two-year agreement.
According to Tim Brown, the deal's worth just over $25 million*, and includes a full no-trade clause. Beltran was insistent on said clause, and I'm given to believe that was the final hurdle. Once it was cleared, the contract was finalized.
So. What's Beltran going to do? The Cardinals have Lance Berkman at first. They have Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Allen Craig in the outfield. In theory, there's no room. But for a guy like Beltran, you make room, and he'll get his at bats - sometimes as a right fielder, and sometimes as a center fielder. Beltran isn't the center fielder he used to be, but he won't embarrass himself, and he can hit, which helps. It's good to have guys who can hit.
Just last season, with the Mets and the Giants, Beltran batted .300/.385/.525, which is fantastic. Over the last three years, covering some injuries, Beltran's posted an .881 OPS, and though he'll be 35 in April, last year kind of put off concerns that he was slowing down. No, he probably won't do what he did last year again. He doesn't have to to be good. He should be good with the Cardinals.
Wednesday, I was thinking about how getting Adam Wainwright back would be a big help for the Cardinals when it comes to filling the Pujols void. With Beltran now, the Cardinals might not have the Pujols icon, but performance-wise, they should be just fine without him. This is a big acquisition, and the Cards are in excellent shape.
* update: $26 million