As the Winter Meetings draw closer, MLB executives believe that it would be an upset if the Yankees didn't land free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yankees have been adamant so far about limiting any potential deal with Beltran to two years instead of the three-year deal that the former Cardinal is seeking.
With Curtis Granderson departing in free agency and Brett Gardner representing the only starting-caliber outfielder remaining for 2014, the Yankees likely need to sign one of the outfielders on the open market. They have options outside of Beltran in Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury for bigger names, as well as a host of players seeking less lucrative deals. Neither Choo nor Ellsbury can likely be had for less than five years and over $100 million, possibly making Beltran a more attractive option to the budget-conscious Yankees. That is, assuming that Plan 189 has not completely ceased to be a thing in order to actually field a competitive team in 2014.
The executives Sherman spoke to said that they figured the Yankees would eventually concede the third year, or give Beltran a great deal more money for a two-year contract. Beltran wants to sign with a team that has the ability to put him in a position to win a World Series before he hangs them up for good, which could be the Yankees if they are serious about bringing in free agent talent that will put them in a better position than they were in last season. Signing Brian McCann was a nice first step, but there are more steps to be made.
Beltran, unfortunately, represents more of the policy of bringing in aging veterans instead of younger players. The Yankees have been burned by that recently. Is a shorter term investment in Beltran worth more to them than investing in a younger player over a longer period of time? Only time will tell.