Carlos Beltran Signs With Cardinals (And How I Feel About It)
For many chemically-imbalanced Mets fans, the bat-on-the-shoulder “incident” in the 2006 NLCS against the Cardinals defined Carlos Beltran‘s long and successful tenure with the team. Yes, instead of remembering Beltran for his incredible 2006 season, where he swatted a MVP-worthy .275/.388/.594 line with 41 HR, 116 RBI, 127 R, and 18 SB while playing top-shelf defense to boot (11.6 UZR/150 in center field)–propelling the Mets to that very playoff disposition–fans still chose to label the slugger as some sort of non-aggressive, uncaring, and unemotional money collector.
Five years later, in his final season for the Mets, the injury-hobbled 34 year-old, who moved to right field to make way for supposedly-superior Angel Pagan, made it one to remember. Beltran hit to the tune of a .289/.391/.513 line with 15 HR, 66 RBI, 61 R, and 3 SB in 419 PA’s for the Mets in 2011 before being dealt to the Giants for stud pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. Considering the likes of Ike Davis, Johan Santana, David Wright, Angel Pagan, Jason Bay, and Jose Reyes all fell prey to injuries during the first four months of the season, without Beltran’s steady bat in the lineup, it’s fair to say the Mets’ 51-47 record would be been far worse.
Beltran bid adieu to the New York Mets on July 28, and continued his hitting ways for the Giants down the stretch, smacking a magnificent .323/.369/.551 line with 7 HR, 18 RBI, 17 R, and 1 SB in 179 PA’s. But the World Series-incumbents simply could not repeat their 2010 magic. The switch-hitting wonder became a free-agent for the second time in his career after the Cardinals collected their second ring in the last six years. Possibly in an attempt to taste the sweet October champagne himself, Beltran signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the recent victors.
Despite his vast offensive and defensive accolades (more the former at this point), Carlos Beltran has some big shoes to fill with the departure of Cardinals-great, Albert Pujols. The Cardinals are hoping that the combination of Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman, and Beltran will be enough to keep the team competitive in the National League Central. Considering both the 2006 and 2011 World Series squads were towards the bottom of their respective Playoff’s talent pool, a Pujols-less Cardinals team should not be counted out. And while it’s a bitter pill to swallow for Mets fans who rightfully adored Carlos Beltran to see him, ironically, club for the Cards, it would only be right to see the veteran slugger sport a “2012 World Series Champs” Cardinals hat and be dozed with the French-born celebratory nectar.