Yankees reportedly agree to deal with Beltran
Contract with switch-hitting outfielder said to be for three years
NEW YORK -- The Yankees capped a period of dizzying offseason activity by securing one more prize on Friday, agreeing with outfielder Carlos Beltran to a three-year contract worth $45 million, according to multiple reports.
The move to ink Beltran, who turns 37 in April, comes as a direct response to Robinson Cano's decision earlier in the day to bolt from the Bronx in favor of a mammoth 10-year, $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners.
The Yankees have not announced the signing, as Beltran must pass a physical in order for the agreement to become official.
Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner had said this week that he wanted to add "another bat or two" to the lineup, and Beltran fits the bill as someone who will help the Yankees outslug opponents next season.
The 16-year Major League veteran is coming off two All-Star seasons with the Cardinals. He hit .296 with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs with St. Louis last year, helping lead the Cardinals to the World Series.
This will mark a second tour of duty in New York for Beltran, who played across town for the Mets from 2005 into the 2011 season. He had initially offered his services to the Yankees at a reduced rate, only to be rebuffed because the club already had Bernie Williams patrolling center field.
In an odd twist, it is also Beltran's second time arriving in response to a 10-year, $240 million contract. The Cardinals inked Beltran almost immediately after watching slugger Albert Pujols leave for the Angels two Decembers ago.
The Yankees had been in on Beltran earlier this offseason while Cano was still on the board, as they viewed the switch-hitter as a nice fit to handle duties in right field for the club -- more so than lefty-hitting Curtis Granderson, who agreed Friday to a four-year deal with the Mets.
But the Yankees made it clear that they preferred Beltran on a two-year basis. When the Royals got involved and appeared ready to drive the price up to at least a three-year pact, the Yankees pulled off and instead agreed with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million deal.
Cano's departure re-opened the Yankees' wallet, and they have now spent a combined $283 million on Beltran, Ellsbury and catcher Brian McCann.
General manager Brian Cashman said earlier in the day that the Yankees were "on the one-yard line" with at least three players, and it was no bluff.
By the close of business, they had agreed to a one-year, $16 million deal with right-hander Hiroki Kuroda and officially announced a contract with infielder Kelly Johnson before also taking Beltran off the free-agent board.
Beltran's wife, Jessica, acknowledged his return to New York by posting, "Back to NY!" on Instagram. She added the hashtags: "#Yankees" and "#goingafterthatring."
The three-time Gold Glove Award winner -- the last coming in 2008 -- jumps into a crowded outfield alignment that projects to have Brett Gardner in left field, Ellsbury in center and Beltran in right.
Alfonso Soriano will likely see increased time in the designated hitter spot, but so will Beltran, as the Yankees will want to keep his surgically repaired knees fresh.
Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells figure to be the odd men out from the Beltran signing, which also suggests that the Yankees may finally be out of the big-ticket sweepstakes for slugger Shin-Soo Choo.
It is also possible that the Yankees are free to explore a trade of Gardner, perhaps in a move that could fill one of their remaining needs.
No indications have been given to that effect, but anything seems possible on a day that opened with Cashman warning that "everybody is replaceable," and then concluded with more moves that seemed to drive the point home.