Alex Rodriguez returns to the New York Yankees' lineup Tuesday to serve as the designated hitter, and Carlos Beltran spoke the other day about how much he's looking forward to returning to the outfield.
That Beltran will be part of manager Joe Girardi's batting order seems a given because of his consistency. The 39-year-old Beltran is hitting .274 and doing significant damage, including 12 doubles and nine homers in 167 plate appearances; he has an .822 OPS.
But because the Yankees are increasingly focused on the development of the next generation of players who can help in 2017, it seems very possible that they will talk with other teams before the Aug. 1 trade deadline about moving Beltran, who has only partial no-trade protection. By trading Beltran, the Yankees could add a prospect or two to their farm system and create at-bats in the outfield for the likes of Aaron Hicks and top prospect Aaron Judge.
Beltran's three-year deal, $45 million deal is set to expire this fall, and with Rodriguez under contract for 2017, there is virtually no chance the Yankees would give Beltran a qualifying offer for next season. He will be with another team next year.
In order to take advantage of his value now, the Yankees could look to make a deal with one of the 14 teams to which he can be traded without having to get his permission to do so.
The Indians: They just lost Michael Brantley (shoulder) to the disabled list, and Beltran could be a middle-of-the-order bat for them. Presumably the Yankees would need to kick in some money to offset whatever remains of Beltran's $15 million salary for this season.