The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

TCN blog 2013 top story #18: Beltran walks again

In his two seasons as the St. Louis Cardinals’ right fielder, Carlos Beltran walked 103 times. Following the 2013 campaign, the Puerto Rican native prepared to take a different kind of walk – back into Major League Baseball’s free agent waters.

Though his balky knees often ached during his time wearing Cardinals red, Beltran was almost always able to play. He averaged 148 regular season games in his age 35 and 36 seasons. The switch hitter did not just answer the bell, he rung it regularly, leading the club in home runs in both 2012 and 2013, with 32 and 24, respectively.

Signed as a free agent himself from the San Francisco Giants following the 2011 season, Beltran provided an important bridge from the Albert Pujols years to the age of the organization’s homegrown prospects taking center stage.

The pressure to give at-bats to youngsters like Matt Adams and Oscar Taveras led the Cardinals to make a decision to not offer Beltran another multi-year contract for 2014 and beyond.

Fully understanding that Beltran would not accept, the Cardinals still made a one-year qualifying contract offer to the outfielder. When Beltran turned down the $14.1 million deal, it locked in compensation to the Cardinals for his loss. The gain will be a first-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

As a free agent again, Beltran had many suitors this fall and winter. He should remain most productive into the future as he settles into the American League lineup in the Big Apple, as he signed with the Yankees for three years, $45 million. There, he could slide into the designated hitter role more often as he plays deeper into the second half of his thirties.

Though his time with St. Louis is over, Beltran’s stabilizing influence to manager Mike Matheny’s first two Cardinals post-season-achieving clubs should not soon be forgotten. Fans can only hope the period following his departure will be as smooth as were the two years following his arrival.

Link to The Cardinal Nation Blog’s top 20 stories of the year countdown

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10 Responses to “TCN blog 2013 top story #18: Beltran walks again”

  1. [...] Matheny’s extension 19. Oscar’s ongoing ouchie 18. Beltran walks again 17. 16. 15. 14. 13. 12. 11. 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. [...]

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    The past couple of years, Beltran was our best hitter.
    If David Ortiz had hit a ball in Game 1 a little further, Beltran would have been spared a rib bruise and might have carried us to victory in the Series. He can carry a team. Swinging left, Beltan is a tremendous playoffs hitter. He can hit any pitcher, thanks to a beautiful swing.
    Carlos should do very well for the Yanks.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    The Hall of Fame is made smarter to add a great manager like TLR.
    It would be great if they would add McGwire too as a Hall of Fame caliber hitting coach!

    • Bw52 says:

      Congrats to TLR and Joe Torre.Ted Simmons passed over again.Simba and Kenny Boyer both Cardinals stars who both belong in HOF.Boyer was better than Santo who is in the HOF and Simba was one of the best hitting catchers ever and had he played in a hitters park and for a media darling teams in NY,Boston or LA he would already be a HOF.Simmons played average defense and was the main threat on several Cards teams.Unfortunatley the Cards rarely contended while Simba was there.

  4. crdswmn says:

    Somebody want to tell me what rock the Memphis City Council crawled out from under?

    • Brian Walton says:

      I’d love to give them credit for a strategy of letting the ballpark go to foreclosure so they could buy it more cheaply, but I doubt they are that organized. Then again, what happens if the City acquires the ballpark but ends up with no team to play in it? Foreclosure would seem to include the risk that someone else might buy the team at auction and move it.

  5. blingboy says:

    “The Cardinals expect to finalize the hiring of an assistant hitting coach as soon as today”

    From Goold this morning.

    Any guesses?

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