ESPN's Buster Olney has reported that for-now Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran has a three-year, $48 million deal.
First, the contract.
There's been talk that teams are desperate for power hitters in a thin market. Giving Beltran that much per year, with a third year guaranteed, is proof positive.
Second, what team?
Olney speculates Mariners, though he doesn't appear to have any inside dope. The Cardinals should hope that it's the Yankees. Why?
Seattle was one of the bottom ten teams in MLB in 2013; their compensatory draft pick would thus be a second-rounder, while the Yankees would owe a first-rounder.
I kind of doubt it's the M's, though. Why would they pay that much for Beltran after not making any commitment to Kendrys Morales beyond a perfunctory tender offer? I mean, Morales is six years younger, and has averages 125 OPS+ over the last four years, including having to come back from a gruesome broken leg.
Instead, maybe it's the Royals, who were whispered to be hot in pursuit last week. They, like the Yankees, would owe a first-round draft pick, not second round.
And, latest word via MLBTradeRumors says that's the deal.
That said, speaking of Yankees and Mariners, another rumor has the M's as a leader in the Robinson Cano hunt. I'll believe that one, too, when I hear more.
Back to Beltran, though.
Whatever team gave him this contract, I can't see him dawdling. Speculation until a week ago was that he'd be lucky to get anything beyond a straight two years, and that a third year would be a team option, or at best, a vesting option. So, if he's got three years guaranteed at this price, I'm sure he's not lingering.
And, on to the Royals. They returned to legitimacy this year, and adding Beltran to the mix will only increase that. Given that Cleveland's done bupkis in offseason moves of note and who knows what will happen with Tampa will do with David Price, and the Royals look very solid.