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Could the Yankees trade Carlos Beltran to the Angels?

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

We're getting closer to the trading deadline, so this is the time of the year when rumors begin to pick up and we get a better idea of what teams might be looking to acquire. We know the Yankees need pitching and maybe some middle infield help, but what about other teams? The Los Angeles Angeles apparently need a bat:

What's the first thing that comes to your mind: Carlos Beltran. Well, maybe not the first thing. But he should be kicking around in your head somewhere.

He doesn't exactly fill the left fielder and high-OBP criteria, but he does bat left-handed as a switch-hitter and he's probably best served as a designated hitter. Unfortunately for the Yankees, they already have a more successful Alex Rodriguez hitting there, so Beltran is forced to remain in the outfielder where he is a liability at this point. He's scored negative numbers in UZR/150 and DRS for the last three years and it's only going to get worse (if that's even possible at this point). The way he can help any team will be with his bat, which has seemingly resurrected itself from the grave it occupied in 2014. Since the beginning of May, he's been a .298/.346/.500 hitter with seven home runs in 182 plate appearances. Numbers like that can only help the Angels, who have had to deal with Matt Joyce hitting .183/.272/.307 all year and .207/.314/.370 in 158 plate appearances since Beltran started hitting.

For the Yankees to trade Carlos Beltran in the middle of a tight division race, it would have to be a lot like when they moved Matt Thornton last year, despite the lefty pitching to a 2.55 ERA and 2.73 FIP in the first half of 2014. The trade got the Yankees off the hook for the remaining $3.5 million owed to him in 2015 and allowed players like Chasen Shreve and Jacob Lindgren to get a shot at the major league level. By moving Beltran, New York might be able to get out of paying the entirety of the $15 million+ owed to him through 2016. Dumping him now would open up opportunities for the likes of Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Ramon Flores, Jake Cave, and even Aaron Judge right now. It would also give the Yankees the opportunity to target a free agent in the offseason like Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, or Justin Upton (they probably don't go this route, though).

It all sounds very unlikely to happen–and it is–but if the Angels can get a taker for Josh Hamilton, the Yankees can probably get someone to at least consider Beltran. The Angels were willing to pay nearly $80 million to get rid of Hamitlon, so the hope would be that they wouldn't mind paying Beltran for a fraction of that cost to actually play for the team over the next year and a half or so. Perhaps we could only expect a Vernon Wells-like return if a deal was ever made with Beltran's approval to waive his no-trade clause, but with both teams in contention this year, you have to imagine something of value might be tossed toward the Bronx. In the end, though, the most value the Yankees might get out of this would be the freedom from a losing investment with the ability to move on and make better decisions in the future.

Again, this is highly unlikely to happen, but don't be surprised if Beltran's name comes up somewhere in the coming weeks. It's time for us to cross our fingers.