As we approach the twilight of the 2016 MLB trade deadline season, every team that looks like a buyer is being linked to big-name teams in trade rumors. I understand the Cleveland Indians being linked to a lot of players, but Carlos Beltran is not one of them.
The Indians' interest in Beltran has been known since the trade deadline talks began heating up, and those fires are apparently still burning, as ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted last night that the Tribe are one of the teams still poking around for a potential trade.
At 39 years old and in the final half-year of his contract, Carlos Beltran is the epitome of a rental. Unlike the trade the Indians made with the New York Yankees for Andrew Miller or the Jonathan Lucroy deal with the Milwaukee Brewers that fell through, a trade for Beltran is one meant solely for winning a World Series in 2016 and nothing else. Which is a perfectly fine mindset, but Beltran is not the right fit.
The Yankees have also made it very clear that they are not going to settle for nothing when it comes to dealing away their big-name players. They absolutely fleeced the Chicago Cubs in their Aroldis Chapman deal, and you could argue that they fleeced the Indians in the Miller deal as well. Granted, Beltran is not a pitcher but good luck getting him for anything even resembling a value deal.
Beltran's bat would no-doubt help the Indians, and few hitters in the past decade can claim to have the same level of consistency as Beltran has had over his entire career. ZiPS and Steamer both have him regressing to a barely above-average hitter (110 wRC+, 108 wRC+, respectively) -- nowhere close to the .304/.344/.546 slash he is putting up now. Could the Indians negotiate the Yankees down knowing they are trading for future value, not what he has done in the past and in the first half of 2016?
Even if they do, there is not much room for Beltran on the Indians roster. He is several years removed from being even considered an average outfielder, so a lot of the value he would give the Indians with his bat would be given right back by his poor defense in the outfield. The only advantage he provides is that it would allow Jose Ramirez to slide into third base permanently and remove Juan Uribe from the lineup. Beltran's best use at this point in his career would be designated hitter, but the Indians already have two in the form of Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana.
As with any of these deadline deals, the only way they feel good to think about is "for the right price." The Indians already paid a steep one for Andrew Miller, and with more teams bidding for Beltran's services, it could wind up being another steep price for one half-season of a player approaching 40. Is it worth it? Probably not.
At least they're not linked to Jay Bruce anymore.