With the St. Louis Cardinals coming to town this weekend, a reminder of what might have been is coming with them. No, I am not speaking about the 2006 World Series, although, that inescapably is going to enter the minds of fans, and the broadcasts of Mario Impemba and Dan Dickerson. I am talking about one of their players roaming the outfield.
You see, this past off-season, Motor City Bengals offered up plenty of names in the free agent market, and the trade market, the Tigers should pursue. Carlos Beltran was championed by more than a few here, including myself. Way back on Oct 31st of 2011, Jordan Gorosh fired the first bullet in favor of Beltran in this article. Gorosh almost nailed the contract, proposing 2 years for 25M, while the Cardinals paid 26M for 2 years. So far, Beltran is easily making that contract look like it is well worth it.
I lamented the fact the Tigers didn’t appear in on Beltran in this article after he signed with St. Louis. Now, as I mention in that article, who knows even if the Tigers offered Beltran a little more money, or a third year, if he would’ve come to Detroit? We don’t know the answer to that question, but given the Tigers state of their corner outfielders right now, I think we can safely say Beltran was a good fit for Detroit.
I could post Beltran’s numbers for you in a St. Louis uniform, and they are certainly impressive, but they don’t mean much in terms of what he would do in Detroit. Different leagues would mean different results. However, Beltran has always posted good numbers when healthy, no matter the league, and he has stayed healthy this season. This was the concern all along with Beltran, and it is proving worth the gamble for the Cardinals.
Signing Beltran would’ve changed the makeup of the Tigers roster for sure. One, it would’ve made Delmon Young expendable. There is no doubt the Tigers more than likely would’ve passed on a 6M dollar Delmon Young if they had Beltran to roam LF, and a cheap Brennan Boesch for RF. It also would’ve likely meant no Prince Fielder in Detroit either. I’m not saying Prince isn’t providing anything with the bat, he certainly is, but it’s unlikely they would’ve piled his salary on after signing Beltran, even with the Victor Martinez news that came later.
That may not be a bad thing. What Prince’s contract has done is tie the Tigers down a little bit for a long time. Now the Tigers are going to have to make decisions on players they may not have had to let go before that point. Signing Beltran instead early, and to a two year deal, would’ve made the Tigers more flexible in the trade and free agent market for years to come. Plus, his production is either equal to or greater than what Prince can provide. Why?
Well, simply because the Tigers offensive production wouldn’t lose anything with Beltran instead of Fielder, while it would improve the defensive prowess of the team. Cabrera would still be at 1st, Beltran on one of the corners, and anyone like Don Kelly at 3B would be a defensive improvement. Overall, the team might be in better shape with Beltran on the roster.
If only David Dombrowski and company would read Motor City Bengals more often to figure out what to do, right? I am chuckling…the previous statement dripping in sarcasm.
Regardless, even though I just spent a moment crying (well, kind of tearing up anyway) over spilled milk, these decisions aren’t as cut and dry as I, or anyone else, would like them to be. We could very well be forgetting about everything and celebrating a Tigers World Series at the end of 2012.
Still, with Beltran and the Cardinals coming to town, it just reminded me of our old articles and what our team might look like if the Tigers had signed him. Oh…and of course, it reminds me of the World Series. Too bad our pitchers couldn’t field a baseball.