Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2005-01-10 08:58
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Carlos Beltran wanted to be a Yankee. According to multiple reports, his agent, Scott Boras approached the Bombers on Saturday evening and said Beltran would wear the pinstripes if they gave him a six-year, $100 million deal. The Yanks passed. The Astros offered Beltran more money, but they wouldn't give him a full, no-trade clause. So he moved on to his third cherce, the New York Mets, who were the highest bidder, offering him a seven-year, $119 million contract. Nice work if you can get it.

The Yankees, who are often criticized for their spending habits, are sure to be knocked in some circles for letting Beltran get away. He would have made them younger and better at a key position. If they had not over-paid for Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright, perhaps they would have been able to ink Beltran. (Come on, which deals do you like better: Pavano and Wright, or Matt Clement and Wade Miller?) Irregardless, it speaks to the reality that the team is likely stuck with Jason Giambi's contract...and Kevin Brown's too. Even if they are intent on dumping Brown, they will still have to eat most, if not all, of the money owed him.

So, Beltran now plays for the Metropolitans. I think they paid too much for him, but he makes them a better team. Now, if they have the chutzpah to go and get Carlos Delgado, they sure will have a promising team in 2005. However, Tim Marchman thinks the deal could come back to haunt the Mets:

It's far too early to tell whether Beltran's contract was a mistake, but there are some real reasons to think that it is.

Foremost among these is that Beltran has never been a truly great player. His hitting statistics are not those of a superstar, and put in the proper context, they're less impressive than they seem. For most of his career Beltran played his home games in Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium at a time when it inflated offense more than any other park in the American League. (In 2002, for instance, it increased run scoring by 17% as compared to an average park.) Despite that, Beltran's career on-base average is .353, and has never risen above .389. His career slugging average is .490, though he has slugged above .500 the last four years.

Adjusting for league and park effects, and weighting his last three seasons so that each is worth twice as much as the last, Beltran looks to be worth about 30 runs a season more than a league-average hitter. That's a very good number, but it's not superstar-level. The same method shows Bobby Abreu, whom few think of as a great hitter, as being worth 49 runs above average per season.

The Mets also signed Miguel Cairo as well as the Korean left-hander, Koo Dae-sung, who had been rumored to be going to the Bronx. The Yanks? They'll have to settle for Randy Johnson, who is due to take a physical today. Cue the strings. The team also signed Ruben Ruben Sierra to a one-year deal to do the cha-cha, hit a couple of dingers and strike out a whole bunch.

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