If you asked most Yankees fans what the biggest issue with the team is the vast majority would probably say second base or the leaky middle relief. While both are issues, neither are as bad as Carlos Beltran in right field.
The middle relief is porous, but good starting pitching can cover that up, and Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson showed what they can do yesterday in setting up for Dellin Betances. Drew is also terrible, but at least he can hit home runs and play defense, which are two more things than Beltran can do on a baseball diamond at this point. Father time is undefeated in all sports and it has gotten the best of Beltran.
Beltran literally does nothing well anymore, which his -.04 WAR suggests he is worse than a replacement player would be. His defense in right field is just unwatchable, and it's amazing how it has been put up with this long already because it's become untenable. Beltran can't get to any ball he has to move for than a step for and often times when he is running down balls in the gaps singles get turned into doubles and doubles into triples.
Even the short porch in Yankee Stadium can't really save him and he looks even worse in bigger outfields. Baltimore isn't even a big outfield, and Beltran still looked horrible there. It's scary to think what might happen these two games in Miami's huge park.
Also, Beltran's hitting is somehow almost as poor as his defense. He is hitting .244/.278/.383/.661 with four home runs, a .286 wOBA and a 79 wRC+. He walks basically never, as his 4.9 percent BB/9 rate suggests and doesn't hit for power anymore. Even during Beltran's hot month of May -- which seems like just a blip on the radar screen at this point -- his OBP was only .316.
What sucks the most with Beltran's situation is that when Jacoby Ellsbury returns he will be blocking young players like Ramon Flores, Mason Williams and Slade Heathcott when he's healthy. If any of those three were playing right field with Brett Gardner or Ellsbury you would be hard pressed to find a better outfield defense than the Yankees'. Based on defense and speed alone any of the three would be an upgrade. Many fans are clamoring for Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela to replace Drew, but neither of them are ready to play defense at the MLB level, so it's no certainty that they would be upgrades. Meanwhile, Beltran is blocking three guys who would be upgrades.
The third year on Beltran's contract and his no-trade clause are absolute killers. Perhaps, if the Yankees paid almost all of the salary an AL team would take him who needed a DH upgrade, but Beltran has always wanted to play for the Yankees, so you would think that he would be reluctant to accept a trade. It appears that Beltran is on his way to being one of the Yankees' worst free agent signings in team history, and they should be just trying to do whatever they can to get rid of him at this point.
Here's a stat that pretty much sums up Beltran at this point:
The Yankees are 9-3 (5.5 RS/G vs. 3.5 RA/G) when Carlos Beltran DOES NOT play.
— The Captain's Blog (@williamnyy23) June 15, 2015