Cardinals sign Carlos Beltran to two-year, $26M contract

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According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals agreed Thursday to a two-year, $26 million contract with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran. The deal includes a no-trade clause.

Beltran batted .300 with a .910 OPS, 22 home runs and 84 RBI in 142 games this past year between the Mets and Giants, and should help St. Louis cope somewhat with the loss of slugger Albert Pujols.

The 34-year-old Beltran will open the 2012 campaign as the Cardinals’ starting right fielder, but could slide over to center once postseason hero Allen Craig recovers from his November knee surgery. It’s a nice get for the Redbirds, who should have a plenty productive lineup if health is on their side in 2012. Here’s how the batting order might shake out on Opening Day:

SS Rafael Furcal
RF Carlos Beltran
1B Lance Berkman
LF Matt Holliday
3B David Freese
C Yadier Molina
2B Daniel Descalso
CF Jon Jay

With Adam Wainwright returning and Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook rounding out the rotation, the Cards should have no trouble staying competitive in year one without Albert.

Reds acquire Tanner Roark from Nationals

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The Reds announced on Wednesday evening that the club acquired starter Tanner Roark from the Nationals in exchange for pitcher Tanner Rainey.

Roark, 32, is entering his third of three years of arbitration eligibility, so this is essentially a rental for the Reds. This past season, Roark posted a 4.34 ERA with 146 strikeouts and 50 walks over 180 1/3 innings. He had a career year in 2016, finishing with a 2.83 ERA, but hasn’t been able to replicate it in the two years since.

Rainey, 25, accrued just seven innings in the majors last season, yielding 19 runs (all earned) on 13 hits and 12 walks with seven strikeouts. He spent most of his year with Triple-A Louisville where his numbers were much better: he had a 2.65 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 35 walks in 51 innings of relief.

The Reds have been in the mix in a lot of rumors during the winter meetings, so it’s not a surprise to see them make a splash. The club is trying to improve on last year’s dismal 67-95 finish.