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MLB Trade Rumors: Will Carlos Beltran be a Yankee in 2014?

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The Cardinals are two games away from winning their second World Series in the last three seasons. They have several decisions to make this offseason, and none bigger than what to do with Carlos Beltran.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Update: I am reposting this previously published article to include an update that Carlos Beltran has apparently received an offer from an unnamed team. Could it be the Yankees? Time will tell. I think he is a perfect fit in New York.

Be sure to submit your vote in the poll below.

By now, I think you know Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran is a great hitter, and an even greater hitter in the playoffs. I am not sure if he is a Hall of Famer, but he is one of the greatest playoff hitters ever.

Once the World Series is over, he has a decision to make, and so do the Cardinals. The Cardinals will more than likely make him a qualifying offer for a one year deal for about $14 million, the going rate for qualifying offers. Beltran has to decide whether he can make more by electing free agency or just signing the qualifying offer and staying on in St. Louis in 2014. St. Louis has several players that could replace Beltran, including Allen Craig and top hitting prospect Oscar Taveras, so they could allow him to walk since they have younger replacements. And that is what I think they will do.

Should the Cardinals decide not to sign Beltran to more than a one year contract, the Cardinals will make several decisions regarding their 2014 lineup, including moving Craig to right field until Taveras is ready (I think Taveras starts the 2014 season in AAA after recovering from his ankle surgery), and Matt Adams takes over for Craig at first base. I also think they Cardinals will move Matt Carpenter to third base, and allow Kolten Wong the opportunity to win the second base job in spring training. These moves would mean trading third baseman David Freese.

More than likely, several American League teams will come calling for Beltran's services, and he will get a 2 or 3 year deal this offseason. I see the Rangers, Yankees and Orioles having interest in signing him, and see the Yankees and Rangers going hard after him. The Rangers need someone to replace Nelson Cruz in their lineup, while the Yankees need his bat in a left field or DH role, especially with the Alex Rodriguez suspension looming. He could form a platoon with Alfonso Soriano in either left field or DH next season.

Should the Yankees sign him this offseason, he will probably rank in my top 25-30 hitters for 2014. Adding him, the Yankees lineup would look like this:

LF Alfonso Soriano/Carlos Beltran

CF Brett Gardner

RF Ichiro Suzuki

3B Alex Rodriguez/free agent

SS Derek Jeter/free agent

2B Robinson Cano/free agent

1B Mark Teixeira

C Austin Romine/Chris Stewart

The Yankees have also been rumored to have interest in Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, and if I were Brian Cashman, I would lean toward signing Choo since he is younger. But, they will have to make a decision with Ichiro if they decide to sign both Choo and Beltran, as Choo and Beltran are better hitters than he is, so maybe they can move him this offseason.

New York could be a landing spot for Freese this offseason if the Cardinals do, in fact, decide to move Carpenter to third base to open up second base for Wong.

As you can see, the Yankees have plenty of decisions to make regarding their starting lineup, as they have question marks all over the infield with ARod, Cano and Jeter. Signing Cano is probably the first thing they do this offseason, but it will take a huge contract to sign him, and if they decide that they would rather spend their available funds to fill all of their other holes, they could just turn the page on him.

Signing Choo and Beltran would mean the Yankees will also turn the page on Curtis Granderson, who is also a free agent this offseason. The team may not be willing to sign Granderson to the 3-4 year deal he is seeking in free agency.

What do Fake Teams readers think? Should the Yankees sign Carlos Beltran this offseason? They have so many decisions to make, and the faster the ARod trial is over, the better.

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