When the New York Yankees signed Carlos Beltran back in the winter of 2013 many people thought that third year of the contract would be a dreaded one.
It has turned out so far that the complete opposite has happened. Beltran struggled mightily in his first year due to playing through an injury and looked pretty much finished as a player early in 2015. Who would have bet at that point that Beltran would turn out to be such a nice signing? Probably nobody, but that's exactly what has happened.
Beltran has helped lead the Yankees back from the basement in the last two weeks since he moved to designated hitter during the absence of Alex Rodriguez. He's been absolutely scorching throughout the month of May hitting .299/.333/.649/.989 with a .407 wOBA and a 162 wRC+. He's been walking less this year, but nobody cares when you hit for the kind of power Beltran has displayed. Beltran's current .263 ISO and .538 slugging percentage would rank third in a season for his career in both categories. He has 10 home runs and 12 doubles total.
The Yankees were able to get back somewhat back into the race so quickly largely due to Beltran and the bullpen shutting gown every game. It's no coincidence that Beltran stepped up when the Yankees needed him the most since that's been his calling card his entire career. It seemed like he was the only one hitting down the stretch last season and he was the Yankees' most consistent hitter after April. Beltran hit .292/.364/.513/.877 with a .374 wOBA and a 138 wRC+ in the second half of the 2015 season.
According to Fangraphs' WAR to dollars scale, Beltran was worth exactly the $15M he was paid last year. He has almost earned half of his salary this year in May. He's earned his contract in his late 30s, which goes against the nonsense narrative that the big long term contracts are always doomed. The Yankees should remember this as they should continue to regret not bringing Robinson Cano back, and apparently they didn't even have to go to 10 years.
It's been very enjoyable watching Beltran since he arrived. It's a shame Mets fans have never given him the credit he earned there. It's also unfortunate that the Yankees didn't sign him back in 2005 when he was willing to take a discount to come to the Bronx. It would be sad if the Yankees traded him at the deadline and they were still in contention, but it would be hard to argue since there is no chance that he will be back next season. Beltran definitely ended up as a solid signing, whether he stays the whole season or not, and that seemed impossible to believe at around this time last year.