Turns out there is a bit of Reds’ news today, after all.

C. Trent Rosecrans is reporting that the Reds have contacted Dan Lozano, the agent for Carlos Beltran (and also for Joey Votto) and notified him of the Reds’ interest.

Beltran has played mostly right field in each of the last two seasons with the Cardinals, but would likely move to left for the Reds. A switch-hitter, he hit .296/.339/.491 for the Cardinals last season and is a career .283/.359/.496 hitter.

Rosecrans’ report is based on an article by Noel Piñero in Primera Hora, a Puerto Rican newspaper (Spanish).

Reports earlier today have linked Beltran with the Yankees, who have indicated the 36-year-old (37 in April) outfielder is their number one priority. It has also been reported that Beltran is looking for a three-year contract which may prove to be a deal breaker with the Yankees. Offering a third year might help a different team, possibly the Reds, sign Beltran.

Conventional wisdom has been that Beltran would sign with an American League club that could use him part-time as a designated hitter. Other AL teams, including the Royals, Mariners and Red Sox have expressed interest in Beltran.

Leaving aside the issue of center field, the Reds may view Beltran as a cheaper and shorter-term commitment than Shin-Soo Choo. And he does meet the seemingly most important criteria: former Cardinal.


Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 39 Comments

  1. 2 years too late.

    I’m assuming this is a player using the media for leverage, but WJ hasn’t had the best run lately.

    I really like Beltran, but it seems like WJ would be opening himself up to a potentially HUGE mistake by signing Beltran to a 3-4 year deal. Of course, WJ might not be around that long if it doesn’t work out…

  2. I’m beginning to think this organization just isn’t run very well.

    • @John: Based on an unconfirmed media report after going to the playoffs 3 out of the last 4 years? Little over the top with the rhetoric there in my humble opinion.

      • @Kyle Farmer: The goal of MLB is not to make the playoffs, and making the playoffs doesn’t matter if you only last 1 game, or drop 3 in a row at home after being up 2-0, or get no-hit on your way to being swept out. I’m not proud of this stuff and I don’t know why anyone else is either.

        Unconfirmed or not, it’s another aging former Cardinal. If you want to be better than the Cardinals, then you have to stop going after people they let go.

        • @John: One team out of 32 (or is it 42: I can’t keep track)wins the World Series. Most teams who do that have made the playoffs a few times in preceding years, so the win-it-all-or-you’re-a-bum school of thought has to result in an awful lot of frustrated people. The Reds have gone from being boring and inept for years to being a team in the discussion for the postseason: that’s progress, and unless you have Yankees-Sox money, you don’t build Rome in a day. Also, I’m not certain that the Cards have actually let Beltran go, any more than the Reds let Choo go.

        • @John: The Atlanta Braves from 1991-2005 went to the playoffs 14 times. They won 1 WS and were bounced in the LDS 5 times. Since 2010, they have made the playoffs 3 times and haven’t made it past the LDS. What is happening to the Reds isn’t that unusual. The playoffs are a crapshoot and after over a decade of not even really having a sniff, it’s good to know that there is a chance the Reds make the postseason, and could advance to the World Series the past few years, and this year.

  3. Losing a pick to the WLBs makes this a nonstarter for me (not to mention that Beltran will want too much money, too many years, and is likely to summer from chronic knee problems for the duration of his remaining career). Surely, this is all smoke and no fire, right?

    • @Drew Mac: Agree 100%. Losing the pick is a deal breaker for me.

    • @Drew Mac: Understand your point, but just to clarify, they don’t get the Reds pick, the Reds would just forfeit their pick and the Cards would get a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds.

      • @Bill Lack: Thanks for the clarification. Either way, however, the Reds would lose a high pick and the Cardinals would gain a relatively high pick.

  4. WJ, get the Carfax on Beltran before you start looking too closely.
    If accurate, this could signal that one, Ludwick is not plan-A for LF afterall. (Yea!) And two, that dealings with Choo’s agent aren’t progressing very well for Cincinnati and his return is even more doubtful.

    • @WVRedlegs: Not so fast my friend. They could consider moving Bruce to CF and Beltran in RF. I haven’t seen anyone mention it, but it was certainly a hot stove topic last off-season post-Choo signing.

  5. I wouldn’t worry about this one. If we know about it, there probably isn’t much juice behind it.

    • I wouldn’t worry about this one. If we know about it, there probably isn’t much juice behind it.

      Agreed. I’m not too keen on giving an extended contract to someone pushing 40, but I am happy the Reds are looking at some big names to fill a power void.

      • @preach: This was my first thought….3 year deal to a 36 year old outfielder? I’m extremely hesitant.

      • @preach:

        Likewise. I like the fact that it seems like they’re trying to be creative, but we also have to be careful not to hamstring ourselves, obviously.

  6. Cincinnati: Cardinal’s Retirement Community

  7. I just don’t see this one happening. If it does, I would think Bruce moves to CF. His RH batting isn’t too hot anymore, and we need RH hitting. I think it might be a move along the lines of Rolen some years ago. An aging veteran who may still have some left, the cost is the question.

    I could take Beltran, but at this cost, I would probably rather see Choo come back. I still see these as a plan B, though. I still see us going after a RH batter to hit behind Votto.

  8. To be fair, this isn’t like the other former Cardinals signings. No one else seemed to want Schumaker (at least for two years) and Ludwick was in low demand the first time the Reds signed him. Edmonds was on the scrap heap. Renteria, ugh.

    Carlos Beltran’s (still) elite value is proven by the interest of other clubs. He’s pretty much the top free agent hitter out there. If you’d like a two-year deal but not a three-year deal, then for two years you should be happy about a three-year deal.

    Given the deep-pocketed other suitors, the desperation being reported in Seattle and the good-time feelings of Beltran signing with his first team, the Royals, I don’t think it’s a likely deal for the Reds. (But I also don’t think this was leaked just to drive up the market, there are already plenty of teams out there for that).

    The combination of impact bat and relatively short-term deal must be awfully attractive to teams. And $14 million/year isn’t that expensive in today’s market. Compare $42 million/3 years for Beltran with $105 million/6 years for Choo.

    Keep in mind that if your team is going to compete in the free agent market, there’s always the element of either (a) overpaying and/or (b) too long of a contract. That’s just part of the price of doing business.

    • @Steve Mancuso: I agree that Beltran is, in fact, the top bat on the market at this point. However, the contract length and dollar amount are not as important to me as is the loss of a pick while simultaneously giving the chief divisional competitor a pick. Now, the Cardinals are going to get a pick regardless. I just don’t want the Reds to forfeit any picks.

      Also, Beltran was a 2 WAR player in 2013. Technically, Zack Cozart was worth more.

      • @Drew Mac: You mentioned one thing that the Beltran camp may be thinking would work, try to get a divisional competitor like the Reds involved. Maybe the Beltran camp was thinking that if the Cards think the Reds were involved, the Cards may up their offer some more, not looking to lose Beltran to the Reds.

      • @Drew Mac:

        Great point Drew. The bat would help immensely, and I am of the camp that offense is more important than defense (especially in the corners) these days. But a 2.0 WAR is worth what today? $14-20 mill per? I think I prefer Choo, although I understand the hesitancy to commit longterm with 4 of our top 5 prospects currently being outfielders.

  9. This might be a closer comparison to when WJ picking up Rolen. In Rolen we didn’t truly get a top-notch player for the full length of the contract, but for that first year, it was the spark we needed in the lineup, on the field, and in the clubhouse. And team windows don’t stay open very long in sports. Unless you’re the Cardinals.

  10. Two years ago, a two-year, $30MM contract for a superior hitting, aging OF with gimpy knees was a calculated risk that paid off for the Birds, big time. This off season, a two-year, $30MM contract for the same aging (two years older) OF with the same gimpy knees (two years older) is a huge risk. A three year contract is simply throwing money down that black hole.

    I have to think (hope?!), the Reds were simply kicking the tires on that old luxury sedan with no intention of buying. Of course if the Reds can get out from under the Ludwick contract (hope?!), Beltran might make more sense.

  11. Aside from it probably making the Reds slower on the bases, if that matters, I think having Beltran in the middle of the lineup **could** be really exciting. This is clearly his last contract, though, which might affect his willingness to stay healthy.

    His knees worry me a little. As for his age, 36 isn’t too old to play left field. Still, he’s likely a 1-homer-a-week guy now. Is that worth it to the Reds?

    I am 55 percent against such a signing.

  12. I never understood why the Reds didn’t pounce when the Mets were deperate to unload him and even more perplexed when he was a fa the following year. It’s like they’re just now hearing of the guy. Where we’re you when he could have been an impact?

  13. Smoke and Mirrors. When you buy a car you check all the cars just to see what is the best deal. Essentially, what is being proposed here is who is the best fit for left field. Do you want a candidate for comeback player of the year or an aging super star. Ludwick costs half as much and could be the 2012 version of Ludwick. Beltran for three blocks the Reds best prospects and leaves the Reds without a lead off hitter, unless they think Hamilton is ready or they have something up their sleeves.

    • @redmountain: I’m curious why you believe Ludwick will be the ’12 version and not the ’11 or ’10 or ’09 versions?

      • I’d take the ’09 (.775 OPS), ’10 (.743 OPS) and ’12 (.877 OPS) versions of Ludwick (i.e., the non-Petco Park versions) over what we had in left field last season, which might have been an OPS under .700. Certainly could do better but it isn’t terrible.

        @redmountain: I’m curious why you believe Ludwick will be the ’12 version and not the ’11 or ’10 or ’09 versions?

  14. Right handed power? How about this guy:

    Although Yoenis Cespedes hit 26 home runs in 2013 — three more than in 2012, when he finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting — those few extra blasts also came with a 52 point drop in his batting average, from .292 to .240. Given that the outfielder is under contract for $21 million over the next two years, there’s a chance that disappoinment might lead to his being dealt this offseason.

    I would rather take my chances in other areas. I like Beltran fine, but do not like the 3 year contract. I would take him for one year no brainer, But Cincy will have to overpay for a free agent

  15. Eh…I don’t see it happening, but if it did Beltran’s bat could be very good between Votto and Bruce in a lineup.

    I’m sure the big thing going on behind the scenes is trying to lock down either Bailey or Latos for a few more years. I’d say that is one thing that has to be resolved before moving to the big bat, as if Homer Bailey isn’t interested in signing, I think they look to trade him and that’s the piece they use to go get the outfielder.

    I got to say the Cards dropping $53 million on a 31 year old PED cheater like Peralta has to make the remainder of BP’s contract look a bit better in the market.

  16. I’m glad to not see the overreaction that I’ve seen elsewhere, I cannot believe how many people I see say “Why would they sign Beltran instead of Choo” when it’s two totally different economic commitments for two totally different players. It’s not like they are choosing between two $100 million contracts and they prefer Beltran.

    • @Bubba Ho-Tep: Over the long haul, Beltran would certainly be cheaper. The question is, what does he have left? I think a 5th or 6th year or perhaps even a 4th year for Choo would be risky. Whenever you sign someone long term, there is risk. If the Reds are willing to take the risk, they should try to get him. If it were me, I’d probably be looking at finding a bat through trade but for all we know, WJ doesn’t like what he’s seeing out there.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


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