December 6, 2013
Beltran To The Yankees, Napoli Stays With Red Sox

Outfielder Carlos Beltran reportedly has signed with the New York Yankees as the dominos continue to fall in the MLB free-agent market.

It would seem that the free-spending Yankees aka the Evil Empire went after Beltran in part to replace some of the offense lost with second baseman Robinson Cano when somewhat surprisingly exited the Bronx for a massive 10-year, $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees also lost outfielder Curtis Granderson to the cross-town Mets (four years, $60 million).

Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is heading to his former team's arch rival in New York as the Yankees agreed to give him a seven-year, $153 million contract. Current Red Sox management is not enamored of long-term contracts that often backfire on big leauge teams, particularly of late. Jackie Bradley Jr. is expected to take over the center field job at Fenway Park, but the Red Sox might also be in the market for an outfielder. The Red Sox were even unwilling to go beyond two years with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who instead reached an agreement on a three-year contract with the Miami Marlins. The Red Sox have two strong catching prospects in the minors, and as a stopgap signed veteran A.M. Pierzynski on a one-year deal.

Beltran, who made his MLB debut with the Kansas City Royals in September 1998, hit.296 last with the St. Louis Cardinals, will earn $45 million over three years. According to ESPN, "Beltran and fellow free-agent signings Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann will give manager Joe Girardi a decidedly new batting order for a total long-term cost of $283 million." Beltran is a lifetime.283 hitter who closing in on 400 home runs.

First baseman Mike Napoli, who last seen partying hearty in downtown Boston following the World Series duckboat parade after the Red Sox won the MLB championship, is returning to the Red Sox on a two year, $32 million contract, however. Napoli originally signed a three-year deal with the Sox in 2012, but the contract was downsized to one year because of his hip issues. His hip condition has remained stable, however.

According to, "And on the field, Napoli did a number of things in 2013 to put himself in position to seek a substantial contract: He remained healthy, played the second most games of his career (139) and he went from being a bat-first catcher whose defensive skills were in question to a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman. Offensively, he went from a down year in 2012 (.227 with a.343 OBP and.469 slugging mark and 113 OPS+) to one very much in line with his career line in 2013 (.259/.360/.482 with a 127 OPS+)."

Napoli had better offers on the table from other teams, but reportedly wanted to stay in Boston.

[top image credit: djprybyl]