Rapid Reaction: Beltran is a Yankee

December, 6, 2013
12/06/13
11:14
PM ET
Carlos Beltran has signed with the Yankees for three years and $45 million, according to sources.

WHAT IT MEANS: When the Yankees thought about replacing Robinson Cano's offense, they knew that they could never do it just at second base because there is no available second baseman in baseball who can do what Cano does. So they have added more offense where they sort of have an opening and, in the process, may have created a trade chip in Brett Gardner.

The Yankees went to three years and $45 million because they need another middle-of-the-lineup bat, and the 36-year-old Beltran -- if he can continue to stay healthy -- provides that.

The Yankees batting order could like this:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Carlos Beltran, RF
4. Mark Teixeira, 1B
5. Brian McCann, C
6. Alfonso Soriano, DH
7. Kelly Johnson, 2B
8. Brett Gardner, LF
9. TBD, 3B

That is a pretty good lineup and, provided that they stay healthy, could make up for the loss of Cano. The Yankees did it, even though their baseball operations people had concern about going to three years for Beltran -- who granted has been healthy a few years -- who has bad knees. But the Yankees, after not having to pay Cano, changed their minds and now Beltran returns to New York for the next three seasons.

PUT ME IN COACH: The Yankees may have to play a rover in 2014. On their roster, they now have Ellsbury, Beltran, Gardner, Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells. By the end of spring training, only four will be remaining.

Gardner could become trade bait because he could bring back the most value, possibly a second or third baseman or pitching. However, the Yankees like the idea of having superior defense with Gardner and Ellsbury teaming up. While the first inclination might be that Soriano, Ichiro and Wells are untradeable, remember that Soriano's team next season only has to pay him $4 million, the Yankees could eat some of Ichiro's $6.5M in a deal and, well, Wells -- he'd be hard to deal for much of anything.

SUBWAY SUMMIT: Beltran had many excellent years in Queens, but looked a memorable called third strike. He will likely be booed by Mets' fans.

With former Yankee Curtis Granderson heading to Flushing for four years, this is a mano-a-mano matchup over which front office made the wiser choice.

ALWAYS A YANKEE WANABE: Beltran famously asked the Yankees if they would take him on a discount when he signed his seven-year, $119 million contract with the Mets in 2005. This time, according to sources, Beltran took $3 millions less turning down a three-year, $48 million offer from an undisclosed team. The Arizona Republic reported the Diamondbacks had such an offer on the table. Talks intensified when Yankees GM Brian Cashman called Beltran's agent, Dan Lozano, at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.

So, Beltran finally is in the Bronx.

MR. OCTOBER: Beltran has the same moniker as Reggie Jackson. Now, his job is to help get the Yankees back there.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Yankees still have their wallets out, even though they have laid out almost $300 million in contracts so far. Next up could be Omar Infante for second or third base, even though they already have Johnson on-board.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146