Reason #101 for A.J. Burnett to Return, No Carlos Beltran for Cardinals

In his time with the St. Louis Cardinals,  Carlos Beltran hurt A.J. Burnett.  Repeatedly.  But none bigger than his three-run bomb in the Cards seven-run third inning against the Bucs leader in Game One of the NLDS.

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Beltran didn’t stop there as he was a monster in the 2013 postseason for the Cardinals with an .852 OPS.

 

But guess what?  Cardinals Carlos Beltran is a free agent in his 37-year old season.  The Cards  had serious young talent make an impact in 2013 and more is on the way.  I think it’s a fact that Oscar Taveras is going to be roaming the outfield grass in Busch Stadium very soon, Beltran is all but gone.

That’s good news for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Beltran had a .908 OPS against the Bucs.  Even if Burnett doesn’t return, Beltran being out of St. Louis is fantastic news for the Buccos.

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It’s really simple.  The Cardinals without Beltran don’t scare me as much offensively.  Everyone remembers what Beltran did when it mattered most….in the month of October.  But his OBP, slugging and homers all dropped from his 2012 numbers.

The Cardinals got exactly what they needed from Beltran.  Well, almost, but Kolten Wong had a lot to do with that.

I think the Cards will give a qualifying offer to Beltran, he will surely decline and end up somewhere in the American League.  The Cards just don’t give big deals to older players with young talent coming up in their system.  Beltran overachieved in the wake of Albert Pujols‘ departure, but the Cards never fall in love with players–proven by letting Pujols walk.  The qualifying offer will come on Monday around 3:30 pm or so.  It will guarantee the Cardinals a compensation pick in the 2014 First-Year Player draft when Beltran declines it.

When asked after the World Series, Beltran spoke candidly to Fox.

“I’m a free agent,” he said, almost as if that fact just was sinking in. “I’ve got to listen to everybody.”

Does he think a return is likely?

“You have to ask Mo about that,” Beltran answered. “Right now, I am going to go home, rest, sleep for a couple of weeks and wait for my agent to call.”

Mozeliak chose to speak about this year’s club and not specifically about its intent with Beltran. But Mozeliak’s words still provided more than a small clue.

“There is that feeling when you realize there is an ending,” he said. “This group has to realize it’s a young, talented group with a very bright future. They all realize in this business that faces change. That’s just part of it.”

The Cards will try to repeat without Beltran in 2014.

Thank You Sweet Baby Jesus.

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