According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Astros have signed DH/OF Carlos Beltran to a one-year $16 million deal with a no-trade clause.
Nice work, if you can get it. Yeah, Future Hall-of-Famer Carlos Beltran is likely to retire with the Houston Astros. If that’s not proof of an ironic universe, then nothing is.
Beltran, who will turn 40 years young this season, batted .295/.337/.513 with 29 home runs for the Yankees and Rangers in 2016, good for a 124 wRC+, or equivalent to George Springer last season. The 29 homers represented the most he has hit during a season since his 2012 campaign with the Cardinals.
Beltran achieved local hero status in Houston with an 8-hr, .435/.536/.1.022 (!!) performance with the 2004 Astros. He had been previously acquired in a trade sending away Octavio Dotel and John Buck.
The next offseason kicked off a decade of persistent booing when after wooing the Astros, Beltran and agent Scott Boras opted for the New York Mets instead.
It was widely speculated that Boras had been using the Astros only as a negotiation foil to drive up Beltran’s New York salary. The drama was bitter enough that then-Astros-owner Drayton McLane swore off signing any Boras client, a vow that persisted for the remainder of his ownership tenure, which ended in 2011.
Beltran will likely bat fifth in the Astros 2017 lineup behind shortstop Carlos Correa. The switch-hitting Beltran will primarily play Designated Hitter, but seems likely to also serve as the frequent short side of a Lefty/Righty platoon with newly-acquired Right Fielder Josh Reddick. Beltran holds a career line of .282/.347/.515 against lefties, who Reddick can’t hit at all.
The move confirms that last year’s DH Evan Gattis will be strictly in the Catcher role, playing DH only when Beltran takes the field against Left-Handed pitchers.