Posted on July 18, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Trade rumors and speculation continue to surround the New York Yankees, and the latest talk involves outfielder Carlos Beltran. A recent report indicates that the Bronx Bombers had talks at some point this season with the Kansas City Royals about Beltran. Of course, Beltran began his career in Kansas City before being part of a deadline deal to the Houston Astros in 2004. According to the report, Beltran returning to the Royals now at the tail end of his career has at least been discussed.
The report did not indicate when those talks between the Royals and Yankees took place, but judging by where both teams currently stand, a trade between the two sides involving Beltran would still make sense. It seems inevitable that the Yankees will trade Beltran, who will be a free agent at the end of the season and could be a desirable asset for an American League club searching the trade market for a bat. Meanwhile, the Royals are 8.5 games out of first place in the AL Central and 4.5 games out of the second wild card spot, and clearly they will need a boost if they’re going to return to the postseason.
The Royals have been hurt by injury this season, and they are currently missing Lorenzo Cain, who is on the DL with a hamstring strain. Acquiring Beltran could give a big boost to Kansas City’s outfield, as he would either supplant Paolo Orlando in right field most days or allow Orlando to shift to center field until Cain returns from the DL. Adding Beltran could also give the Royals some protection against another untimely injury. Beltran would not have to waive his no trade clause for the Yankees to trade him to Kansas City.
The talks between the Yankees and Royals earlier this season also involved Luke Hochevar as one player who could be sent to New York in exchange for Beltran. At this point, trading Hochevar for Beltran may not make much sense for either side, unless the Yankees intend to use him as a key setup man next season when they’ll likely be without trade candidate and free-agent-to-be Aroldis Chapman, and possibly Andrew Miller, who remains a favorite target of teams looking for bullpen help at the deadline.
Whether Hochevar’s name remains relevant in trade talks, it stands to reason that the Yankees and Royals are not finished discussing a trade involving Beltran. From a sentimental standpoint, Beltran returning to Kansas City late in his career to help the Royals get back to the postseason is a compelling storyline. More importantly, from a practical standpoint, he could make a meaningful difference for a contender like the Royals during the second half of the season. It’s becoming more and more likely by the day that Beltran will be traded before the deadline, and the possibility of him returning to Kansas City appears to be on the table.