Note: This is part of our Hot Stove Talk series, which profiles free agents and looks at possible trades the Texas Rangers could make this offseason.
Today's player: Carlos Beltran
The Rangers have some interest in Beltran this offseason and why wouldn't they? There's no doubting the impressive postseason resume that Beltran has put up. He's hit .333 with 16 homers and 40 RBIs in 51 games (10 series). He finally got a taste of the World Series and was 5-for-17, including one big catch to rob David Ortiz of a grand slam in Game 1 (and the Cardinals couldn't rob Ortiz of much else the entire series).
Beltran has been pretty consistent throughout his career. He has a .283 career batting average and has hit 22 or more homers in 11 of his 16 seasons. And he's had 265 RBIs the last three seasons, an average of 88. That's the kind of offense the Rangers could use in the lineup.
Beltran, who has played the last two years in St. Louis, has played most of his career in the National League after breaking in with the Kansas City Royals early in his big league tenure. He played right field for the Cardinals last year, but at 36 years old, could shift over to DH some if he signs with an American League team.
BTW, the Rangers have had some interest in Beltran before. They explored the possibility of trading for him in 2011, but he had a full no-trade clause and it didn't really appear to gain much steam.
Why he makes sense: This team needs an outfielder with some power and production and Beltran fits the bill. He's a switch-hitter, which makes him even more tempting since the Rangers are right-handed heavy. Beltran is a veteran with a track record and would bring some postseason moxie to a team trying to get back to the World Series. And he could split time between the outfield and DH, helping him save a bit on his body's wear and tear.
Why he doesn't make sense: He's 36 years old (turns 37 early in the 2014 season) and various reports say he wants a three- or four-year deal. That's a lot for a player who has shown some signs of slowing down as he gets older. His OPS dropped for the second consecutive season and he had fewer homers and RBIs in 2013 as opposed to 2012 (though his average was higher last year). If he wants a four-year deal, you're talking about paying him until he's 40.
Bottom line: I'm interested, but it depends on the terms of the contract. I'm not getting into a four-year agreement with Beltran and I'd be hesitant at three years. I'd consider maybe a two-year deal with a vesting option for a third year. Beltran would help this lineup, but the Rangers have been careful to avoid the multiyear deals that can handcuff an organization. I just can't see paying Beltran until he's 40.