Why I like Carlos Beltran on the Cardinals
When the Cardinals signed Carlos Beltran to a two year 26 million dollar deal with a full trade clause earlier in the off-season not many fans seemed to excited about the signing. Many fans ridiculed the Cardinals for signing yet another former Astro as we have seen the likes of Trever Miller, Octavio Dotel, and of course Lance Berkman join the Cardinals in the past few seasons. Others simply joked about how Wainwright struck out Beltran in 2006 and how they should make a cheesy spring training commercial about it. I on the other hand really liked this move by the Cardinals except for the fact that it forces Allen Craig and Jon Jay to once again shed playing time for an aging vet. However there are far more positives than negatives with Beltran, here are a few reasons why I am excited to see Beltran wearing the birds on the bat next year and beyond:His career stats at Busch Stadium III:
Beltran has always been a Cardinal killer but he really seems to love to hit at Busch Stadium III, in 12 career games at Busch he has 4 home runs 16 RBI’s a .340 average and a .401 slugging percentage. Sure that may be only 12 games a small sampling, but 16 RBI’s in 12 games is pretty good especially in a place known as a neutral stadium and not necessarily a hitters park. I think like Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman he will also have similar success at Busch Stadium playing half of his games there.
He was a Cardinal killer:
As I mentioned above Beltran has always been known as being a Cardinal killer particularly in the post season of 2004 where he was just monstrous. For his career against the Cardinals he has 9 home runs, 42 RBI’s, 39 runs, a .258 average(seems low right?), and a .344 slugging percentage in 62 career games, not to mention all of the great plays defensively that he had against the Cards in his career. Like Lance Berkman it is nice to see a former Cardinal killer wearing the birds on the bat to ensure that he can kill us no longer. Maybe someday we will see Hunter Pence in a Cardinal uniform as well, I could see it happen.
He is a great veteran player:
Something that the Cardinals always seem to have is strong veteran leaders, guys like Lance Berkman, Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday, Chris Carpenter, and Adam Wainwright are staples of the team the fan favorites and superstars that lead the team on and off the field as well as tutoring and mentoring the younger players. With a guy like Beltran that adds just another strong leader to help mentor the younger guys on the team like Adron Chambers, Jon Jay, and Allen Craig but unfortunately it brings a downfall as well because with Beltran on the team he then takes away at bats from younger guys who deserve them (cough, cough, Allen Craig.)
Beltran has a lot of ties to the Cardinals organization which I feel will make him an even stronger weapon for the Cardinals this year. He played with Lance Berkman on the 2004 Houston Astros, he played with Yadier Molina and under Jose Oquendo in the World Baseball Classic, and of course he played on the All Star team with Matt Holliday, Berkman, and Molina last season. The Cardinals have always been a heavy Hispanic team with guys like Molina, Eduardo Sanchez, Fernando Salas, Jaime Garcia, and Tony Cruz on the roster already adding Beltran just adds another guy to help communicate and lead with the many Hispanic players on the roster. I think that Beltran will be a lovable clubhouse guy which just makes the Cardinals team chemistry even stronger.
Who couldn’t want a guy who batted .300, hit 22 homers, and drove in 85 RBI’s? I think adding Beltran’s bat in the middle of the Cardinals lineup helps lessen the blow of not having Albert Pujols on the roster this season. He can hit for contact and power and will probably bat either second or fifth which makes his bat very valuable for the Cardinals. He adds protection to Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman which makes the Cardinals one of the best offenses in baseball yet again.
Beltran will contribute to the Cardinals as long as he can stay healthy and I will cheer him on proudly. I already spent 25 dollars on a Beltran T-Shirt which I already wear with Pride even though he has yet to appear in a game for the Cardinals. Sure he may be aging and he is taking away at bats from guys like Jon Jay and Allen Craig but all three outfielders will be a huge part of the Cardinals and their pursuit of defending their title. Good luck #3!