After 199 post-season plate appearances, he is finally there. Carlos Beltran will play in the World Series for the first time. The 36-year-old had been to the National League Championship Series three times before and three times played in a Game 7, only to go home unsatisfied. Had the Cardinals not finished the job tonight in Game 6 against the Dodgers, he might never have gotten the opportunity.
It’s a well-deserved opportunity for Beltran, whose post-season production is the stuff of legend. He entered tonight’s game hitting .327/.443/.717 in 194 trips to the dish in post-season play – numbers reminiscent of Barry Bonds. He went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI singles against the Dodgers tonight. He even added an inning-ending diving catch in the gap in right-center in the fifth to take a hit away from Juan Uribe, just for good measure.
Beltran is, in the eyes of many, already a Hall of Famer. He has accumulated over 67 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference, which puts him slightly below Reggie Jackson (74.0), as an example. Others believe him to be on the cusp, and some of them would have held his lack of World Series play against him. He will get the chance to pad his credentials next Wednesday, when the World Series starts in the city of the winner of the ALCS between the Red Sox and Tigers.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.