Having spent most of his career with the Royals and Mets, Carlos Beltran hasn’t gotten to play in may postseasons. In fact, this is just his third in 15 major league seasons. However, he’s certainly made the most of his limited October action.
Beltran went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two walks in Friday’s Game 5 victory, giving him this ridiculous career postseason line: .375/.488/.817 with 13 homers in 104 at-bats. He’s scored 37 times, knocked in 23 runs and gone 9-for-9 stealing bases in 28 games. His K/BB ratio in 15/23.
Of course, Beltran has been a fine regular-season player too, going to seven All-Star Games and amassing three 30-homer seasons. Still, no one compares in the postseason. Beltran has the highest on-base percentage and slugging percentage of anyone with at least 60 plate appearances in the postseason. You may have heard of the two guys right behind him on the OPS list: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
In order to get Hall of Fame consideration, Beltran will probably need to play for a world champion before he’s all done. Otherwise, his postseason numbers may not be taken all that seriously. Currently 35, he still has a pretty good shot at 400 homers (334 now) and 1,500 RBI (1,243 now). His career .282/.360/.496 line pales in comparison to fellow Hall of Fame long shots Larry Walker and Lance Berkman, but Beltran was a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder for most of his first 10 seasons and it should be factored in that he spent the bulk of his career in pitcher’s parks. It’d be crazy to dismiss him.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.
Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.
Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.
It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.
Many have speculated on a potential match between the White Sox and Ian Desmond this winter, but we haven’t heard much in the way of legitimate interest. That could be changing with spring training right around the corner, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Chicago is among the teams considering the free agent shortstop.
After turning the page on Alexei Ramirez this offseason, the White Sox currently have Tyler Saladino in line to serve as their starting shortstop in 2016. The 26-year-old is considered a strong defender, but he batted .225/.267/.335 with four homers over 254 plate appearances as a rookie in 2015. Desmond is coming off a nightmare of a walk year and has seen his strikeout rate climb by 8.5 percent since 2012, but he possesses more offensive upside and it’s not hard to imagine a bounceback campaign while calling U.S. Cellular Field home.
Similar to fellow free agents Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler, Desmond is attached to draft pick compensation after turning down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals. It’s a big reason why a potential deal with the Rays is reported to be a “long shot.” Chicago’s No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft is protected, so they would give up their No. 28 overall pick if they sign a qualifying offer free agent like Desmond.
Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.
O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.
It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.