When the Yankees signed Carlos Beltran in an almost $500 Million shopping spree during the 2013-2014 offseason, one that brought Brian McCann, Masahiro Tanaka and Jacoby Ellsbury to the Bronx, the Yankees envisioned Beltran to be mostly a designated hitter, with occasional play in right field. However, it hasn’t panned out the way the Yankees dreamed it would.
Derek Jeter was in his final season with the Yankees in 2014, which required use of the DH spot. Alex Rodriguez‘s return in 2015 along with the Yankees re-signing Chase Headley to play third base has seen Beltran in right field more often than not. Beltran’s bat has come around despite a catastrophic April, but his defense is still troubling due to his limited range. With the Yankees unable to use the DH spot for Beltran along with him being a liability in right field, would the Yankees consider trading Beltran? And if they did, where to?
Beltran recently has hit far better (.841 OPS over the last 35 games), but does that justify keeping such a liability in right field, particularly because he is not countering that with power at the plate? The Angels need another bat, have an opening at DH (where Beltran belongs) and cleared some salary by moving Josh Hamilton. I wonder if the Yankees could eat some of the $15 million owed Beltran in 2016 and make that work to create a more flexible, defensively sound roster.
Suggesting the Yankees trade Beltran to the Angels is an interesting theory, and it’s one that could help clear payroll and invest in a right fielder that has more range in the outfield. Beltran’s offense isn’t the main issue as he’s hitting .260/.309/.430 with a .739 OPS in 66 games with the Yankees this season, but he has a 0.2 WAR this season, and even had a -0.7 WAR last season. It’s obvious Beltran has his limitations, and even the small area in right field at Yankee Stadium isn’t helping. But if the Yankees did trade Beltran to the Angels, the team wouldn’t get much in return. However, it would open right field for Aaron Judge, who is currently hitting .303/.415/.455 with a .869 OPS in nine games with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Trading Beltran sounds good in theory, but would the Yankees actually do it?