The Phillies received some good news yesterday - provided they are interested in free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran. Yesterday, the Cardinals extended to Beltran a qualifying offer. That means that whatever team signs Beltran will have to forfeit a first round draft pick. That is, unless you were one of the bottom teams the year before. The Phillies are one of them.
The bottom 10 teams with protected first-round draft picks are:
- White Sox
- Blue Jays
The reason the Phillies might have the advantage: Beltran is 37 years old, was a little banged up down the stretch, and it may not be worth it for a team to give Beltran a two-year contract AND a first round draft pick. In a world of inflated salaries, teams are more and more reluctant to give up draft picks, as we saw last season's Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse free agent periods.
Should the Phillies be interested in Beltran, they may have to pay the amount of the qualifying offer ($14.1 million) for two seasons, perhaps with a third year option. Beltran could man right field for the Phillies. He is a switch-hitter and could give the Phillies some balance in their lineup. Beltran hit .296 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI. Beltran missed some time down the stretch with minor, nagging injuries, but never hit the disabled list with the Cardinals.
While the St. Louis Cardinals think that Beltran will decline to accept the offer extended to Beltran, there is always the possibility that he might accept. If Beltran accepts, he will earn $14.1 million on a one-year deal. If he tests free agency, a team probably gives him a two-year deal, maybe even a three-year deal. Beltran is 36 years old and probably only has one more contract left in his baseball life.
The Phillies need to fill at the minimum an outfield position, catching position, a starting pitcher, and bullpen help. The left-handed lineup could use some balance, the outfield could use some defense, and the lineup could use some power. Signing Beltran would give the Phillies someone who can hit right-handed in a lineup, provide a medium amount of power, and a solid right-field defender.