You read title correctly. You’re not hallucinating. You’re not losing your mind. You’re not the victim of a cruel practical joke. The Indians really are going after Carlos Beltran.
And I have absolutely no idea why.
Don’t get me wrong, Beltran can still be a solid every day contributor to a major league lineup and if this was 2004 I’d be all about this. Unfortunately it’s not 2004, Carlos Beltran didn’t almost win the World Series by himself, and I’m not in college living in a room the size of a cardboard box (Oh how I wish I still was). Given all of that, I’m just not sure how he makes sense for the Indians. After all, this is the same player the Indians pursued at the trade deadline last season only to have him shun them thanks to a full no trade clause. To put it bluntly, Beltran didn’t want to be an Indian and he made it more than clear he didn’t want to be in Cleveland. Why then, knowing Beltran wants to be in a big market, would the Indians waste their time and resources going after him?
If I’m a betting man, it probably has something to do with the fact that the Indians have yet to make any type of impact move via a trade or free agency after making promises that they would do just that. Is it an act of desperation? Possibly. Is it a move to try an appease a fan base that has grown tired of bargain bin free agents? More than likely. The Indians know they have put themselves in a position to contend this season thanks to being shrewd and carefully building their team around smart trades and promoting from within. Why ruin that now and go all in with a player who may be exiting his prime and robbing them blind in the process? Why not really go for broke and make a run at Prince Fielder, a legit power bat entering his prime who could have a field day hitting in Progressive Field?
Not to get ahead of ourselves (I really don’t think this is going to happen), but how well would Beltran even fit in with this team? Signing Calros Beltran creates a domino type effect on this team that could cause more headaches than solutions. I think there are five key points that need to be taken into account here before we can fully embrace the Carlos Beltran era (Again, I don’t think there’s any way in hell this happens).
1. The Indians already resigned Grady Sizemore: Why bring in Beltran when Sizemore is already going to be back. Had the Indians parted ways with Sizemore, then this move would have made sense. This creates a log jam in the outfield between Sizemore, Brantley, and Beltran. We already know Choo will be in right, so who plays center, Brantley or Sizemore? Who plays left, Brantley, Beltran, or Sizemore? Does Beltran even want to play left field? He had issue going from center to right. What makes anyone think he wants to go from right to left? Does Beltran, in an attempt to save his legs move to first?
2. What would this mean for Michael Brantley: Say the Indians sign Beltran and commit to him as the every day left fielder, where does that leave Brantley? Does he take over as the every day center fielder or do the Indians move him to first base… as has been rumored. How does that possibly affect Brantley moving forward. He showed last season that he’s a legitimate major league player. Why be so willing to mess with his head like that?
3. How does this effect Matt LaPorta: We all know Matt LaPorta has struggled to live up to the expectations of being “the guy” in the C.C. Sabathia trade. Does signing Carlos Beltran signify the waving of the white flag for the LaPorta era? If Brantley moves to first doesn’t that mean the experiment is over? It’s not like the Indians can make LaPorta the full-time DH. We still have one more season of Travis Hafner. Does LaPorta go back to Triple A and wait for Hafner to break down or his contract to expire? How does that mess with his already waning confidence?
4. How does signing Beltran effect Travis Hafner: Hafner is not the player he once was, that’s a given… but… and this is a big badonka donk of a but… he’s still being paid like the player he once was. They can’t just sit him on the bench while they rotate Sizemore and Beltran in and out of the DH spot on a daily basis. If that’s the case, then they might as well start using dollar bills to light their cigars.
5. How does Beltran’s presence effect the chemistry of the team: Beltran is a legit super star. The Indians are a team full of 20 somethings just starting their careers. How well does he mesh with that environment? Is this even an environment he wants to be in? You have to assume Beltran is all about chasing a ring at this point and the Indians are no guarantee to even make the playoffs. With teams like Boston and St. Louis chasing after him, you have to think the only way the Indians pull this off is by throwing a mountain of money in his direction and does that end up causing resentment among the rest of the team?
Like I said, I really don’t think there’s any way the Indians actually sign Carlos Beltran. Leaking their “interest” to the media is probably a calculated maneuver in order to make it appear as if they are wheeling and dealing, especially after missing out on Jason Kubel, Josh Willingham, and Michael Cuddyer. As is usually the case with the Indians, the more likely scenario is they sign a veteran prior to spring training for a one year minimum offer or make a trade for a player that will neither help or hurt them in any significant way in 2012.