Oct 27, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran (3) hits a RBI single against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning during game four of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

No Homecoming for Carlos Beltran

Oct 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran (3) slides into home to score during the seventh inning of game three of the MLB baseball World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It was great to think about. The idea that Carlos Beltran could come back to the Royals after all these years, playing out the last few years of his career while possibly leading the Royals back to the postseason seemed like the type of storybook ending that only occurs in Hollywood. And yet, there the Royals were, in the thick of the Beltran sweepstakes as Royals fans dreamt of a reunion.

However, those hopes were dashed last night. Despite seemingly being out of the Beltran Sweepstakes after signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the New York Yankees inked the right fielder to a 3 year/$45 Million contract as they continue to remake their team.

Why did the Yankees make this move? Perhaps it was desperation after Robinson Cano signed with the Mariners, and the Yankees knew they needed to make a splash. Perhaps they truly feel that a 37 year old outfielder on a three year deal is better than what they already have for outfield/designated hitter (if so, they are probably correct). Meanwhile, it does not appear to actually solve any of the Yankees issues, such as second base and their pitching staff.

What this signing may have done, aside from disappoint legions of Royals fans, is save the Royals from themselves. Beltran returning would have been a great marketing moment, and provide a lot of sentimentality among the fanbase, but would he really be worth the investment? The track record of players similar to Beltran after age 36 would indicate that it is not.

In the end, the Yankees may have done the Royals a favor by signing Carlos Beltran. The recently acquired Norichika Aoki had a better WAR than Beltran did last year at a fraction of the cost. While the Royals still need another impact bat in their lineup, they do not need a player that could end up as a financial albatross over the next three seasons. Although the impact bats seem to be disappearing quickly in the free agent market, there is still the potential to make trades. With some of the players that the Royals could have available, as well as the potential to actually add payroll, they could still get the pieces they need.

If this was Hollywood, then Beltran would have come back to the Royals, led the team to a World Series title and departed off into the sunset. However, real life does not mirror the movies – and Beltran is not a guarantee to put up solid numbers in the next three seasons. As much as it may sting to lose him to the Yankees, the Royals may be better off without Carlos Beltran.

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  • jimfetterolf

    This was a win all around; the Royals avoiding an overpriced DH whose power would slide at the K, the Yankees getting a player perfect for their stadium, and Beltran getting a chance to put up gaudy numbers in the heart of the media universe for his Hall of Fame push in eight years. Doesn’t hurt that NYC has a large Puerto Rican community and that Carlos’ wife loves NYC. He’ll probably also get plenty of endorsements that will more than offset the slight payroll loss from signing elsewhere.

    The Royals, like the Mariners, would have had to dramatically overpay for a player who, at Kauffman Stadium, was most likely to become Jose Guillen v2.0.