The Toronto Blue Jays have held “internal discussions” about New York Yankees All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran, according to a report today from Jim Bowden of ESPN.
Now 39, the switch-hitting Beltran is showing no signs of his age as he’s coming off a very strong first half with the Yankees, hitting .299 with 19 home runs and 56 RBI.
“Toronto Blue Jays have had internal discussions about possible interest in acquiring Carlos Beltran if the Yankees decided to move him at the trade deadline according to a club source,” Bowden wrote. ‘They have also been linked to Melvin Upton Jr. Not sure of the fit for either one unless plan would be to put Edwin Encarnacion at 1B.”
Beltran is in the final year of a three-year contract that pays in $15 million in 2016.
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While dealing with a nagging hamstring, Beltran has seen some time at DH this season but is expected to return to the outfield as the Yankees exit their break. While he hasn’t held much defensive value since his earlier seasons with the Royals and Mets, there is not a great deal of difference in the field between Beltran, Jose Bautista, or Jay Bruce, who continues to be linked to the Blue Jays.
The surface-level stumbling block in this equation, which should be taken with a grain of salt regardless, is the idea of the Yankees trading within the division. This should not become an issue if New York finally decides to enter a selling mode, however. With Beltran representing a rental, any prospect capital acquired from the Blue Jays would become a “win” from 2017 onwards. Of course, that would be Toronto’s largest consideration.
As Bowden notes, this fit would see Edwin Encarnacion playing first base on a primary basis with Bautista acting as the designated hitter when he returns from a turf toe injury. In turn, this pushes the struggling Justin Smoak to the bench and creates a stronger offensive order without a substantial drop-off in the field (depending on one’s definition of substantial).
Of course, at this time of the season, “internal discussions” can be as simple as a three-minute conversation exploring the possibility of a player that ultimately ends in “no thank you” as teams doing their due diligence often muddy the waters.