The World Champion St. Louis Cardinals made some noise recently when they signed Carlos Beltran. The Cardinals are reloading after losing Albert Pujols, the biggest Pirates killer in recent history.
Everyone knows how much Pujols destroyed the Pirates. We can remember several bombs Pujols launched into the bleachers at PNC Park. Missile shots. Pujols hit absolute bombs that sent groups of Boy Scouts scurrying for their troop leader as the visiting Cards pummeled the Bucs pitchers repeatedly on the back of King Albert.
We looked at the generous two-year deal for Beltran, who turns 35 years old in April, and scratched our head. The Beltran signing is a calculated risk by the champs to ease the pain caused by the loss of Albert Pujols.
We looked closer at the potential Cardinals 2012 lineup. On paper it sizes up to be better than anything Beltran has played with in recent seasons, so perhaps that will help him. But it will amaze me if he is able to live up to the contract for this sole reason: the guy can’t stay on the field.
Of course weren’t many people pointing at the Cards last year after the Lance Berkman signing? Maybe there is something in that Bud Light after all? But seriously, Beltran is a gamble.
Unlike Pujols, who seems to break bones and miss just hours of playing time, Beltran seems to turn an ingrown hair into missing weeks of playing time. But at least the Cards were smart enough to wait until the hot stove season to sign him. The Cards didn’t panic at the deadline and didn’t give up a top pitching prospect like the Giants did.
An opportunity to repeat winning the Series is a great thing. It hasn’t happened in Pittsburgh in well, forever. But certainly the lust for another championship shouldn’t be the end all be all, should it? We think not. Definently not at that cost for the Giants. The contract the Cards gave Beltran will hardly cripple them. Of course, who am I to talk, Beltran reportedly refused to even come to Pittsburgh.
So the big question for us was how has Beltran fared when facing Pittsburgh Pirates pitching? How has he hit at PNC Park the past two years?
And the really big question is this. Will Beltran going launch baseballs at Pirates fans in the bleachers like the commander of the baseball artillery brigade Albert Pujols did? Hell, some of those Scout troops may never return to PNC Park because of freakin Pujols.
Anyway, let’s take a look and see what Beltran has done.
In 2011, Beltran hit .367 against the Pirates pitchers. He had 30 at-bats with three extra base hits–two doubles and a homer. But at PNC Park, he hit .286 with a paltry .286 slugging and .639 OPS. All very small samples all the way around on these stats to be certain, but 2010 was even worse for Beltran.
He had just two extra base hits a double and a homer. He had one hit in PNC Park in nine at-bats. Remember when Beltran bitched about his Mets being swept by the Bucs (during the debut of Andrew McCutchen in Black and Gold) without even stepping foot on the field?
The bottom line is an aging Carlos Beltran doesn’t appear to be anything close to a Pirates killer. Let’s hope the small sample size stays that way, especially for the Boy Scouts.