Carlos took some of the sting out of losing Albert Pujols to the Angels. As time went on, he took all of it. Pujols has not (yet) returned to being the fearsome hitter he was in St Louis. His last two years have seen him post his lowest season HR totals of his career. Last year he didn’t play at least 140 games for the first time at the Major League level (well he almost did, missing by a mere 41 games). By contrast Beltran played 145 games last year.
Beltran was not brought in solely for his glove. He was signed for his bat. Carlos posted identical 128 OPS+ seasons as a Cardinal. He replaced Albert in the #3 hole until the emergence of Allen Craig, which moved him to second in the order. With him in the order, St Louis’ first six hitters were pretty darn good.
It’s funny that he signed with the Yankees. Remember Adam Wainwright’s Dream?
“I actually had a dream — I told him this — I had a dream the day before that we lost, and we didn’t get to the World Series, and we weren’t the team to get him there,” Wainwright said. “And he ended up signing with the Yankees next year, and the Yankees took him to the World Series. And I remember the gist of the dream was he was sitting on a podium like this saying, ‘I’m so happy to be a Yankee and in the World Series.’ And I was like oh, my gosh. It was a nightmare.”
Funny how things play out.
With the emergence of Allen Craig and Matt Adams, the acquisition of Peter Bourjos, and Oscar Taveras waiting in the wings, the Cardinal outfield is pretty crowded. As many have pointed out before, there really wasn’t any room in 2014 for Beltran, despite the (stated) interest by both the player and the club to return to St Louis. Letting Beltran go is not without some risk. Craig has often been injured in St Louis, and is recovering from a Lisfranc strain to his foot. Adams has not shown the capability to hit LHP, meaning they’ll have to plan on a platoon at first. Taveras is major league ready but still a rookie, and Bourjos has no power to speak of.
Sure would have been nice to keep Beltran as an insurance policy, but that wasn’t in the Cards.
It’s been fun watching him patrol RF for the past 2 seasons. Perhaps he’ll win that elusive World Series title with New York. I just hope it doesn’t come at St Louis’ expense.
Thanks for the memories, Carlos.
“Unto us a Son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder.”