Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"I'm never pain-free," Yankee golden oldie Carlos Beltran sez:

Longtime Squawker readers know that I was against the Carlos Beltran signing. The fact that the St. Louis Cardinals, arguably the smartest franchise in baseball, let him go was a huge warning sign. Another warning sign was Beltran's propensity for injury. That, combined with his age -- he will be 39 at the end of his deal with the Yankees -- made me wonder, and not for the first time, what the heck Brian Cashman was thinking in signing him.

Cashman, you may remember, famously turned down signing Beltran after the 2004 season, even though Carlos was willing to take less money to be a Yankee. So instead of signing Beltran for the prime years of his career, seasons in which he would slug over 30 homers a year and drive in over 100 runs, Cashman decided to spend $15M a year for an aging outfielder who really should be a DH. And to give him a three-year deal to boot. How did that ever make any sense?

ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews interviewed Beltran the other day, and the aging slugger, while saying he was feeling better these days, also had this to say about his health:
"I'm a gamer, what can I say? I love to play," he said. "But I'm never pain-free, let's put it that way. It's been seven or eight years that I'm not pain-free. Some people tolerate pain better than others. I would say I can tolerate a bit of pain." 
Oy. Again, the Yankees missed out on the healthy years, but they have him for the injury-riddled seasons, the ones where he is never pain-free. Oh, joy.

For all the talk about how the Yankees are paying for players on the decline, at least the team got some great years -- and won a World Series -- thanks to the other members of what an ESPN reader called the "Sore Four." (Love that line!) A-Rod won two MVPs, and CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira had some dominating seasons as Yankees. Meanwhile, the Yankees cut to the chase with Beltran and are paying big bucks for the years in decline, without getting any of the good years!

Why the Yankees chose to spend the money on Beltran instead of Robinson Cano made zero sense at the time, and even less sense now. (Beltran's contract, plus the $5M each wasted on Chris Capuano and Stephen Drew, would have paid for Cano.)  Sure, they would have been paying for Cano's declining years, although I still contend they could have gotten him for less than 10 years if they had offered him more per season. But at least they would have had some great years out of him. The Yanks are only getting Beltran's declining seasons!

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