When Carlos Beltran first came to New York, it was as a member of the Mets. Armed with a fat seven-year, $119 contract he had received in January 2005, it was hoped that Beltran could help lead the other New York team to the World Series.
Beltran and the Mets did make the playoffs in 2006, his second season, but only got as far as the NLCS. They never made it back.
After six-plus seasons and knee injuries that derailed his offensive production, Beltran left the Mets and New York in 2011. Now, two years later, he’s back and he’s looking for that elusive World Series title.
Beltran was introduced to the media on Friday as the newest member of the New York Yankees. Beltran agreed to a three-year, $45 million contract two weeks ago.
There is likely one thing left for Beltran left to do in his baseball career—win a World Series title. He had the chance to win last season with the St. Louis Cardinals, his first trip to the Fall Classic in his 16-year career.
Now that he’s been there once, Beltran wants more, and he believes he can get that chance again with the Yankees.
“I grew up being a Yankees fan,” Beltran said. “I grew up being a Bernie Williams fan. … As a player — and first of all, as a fan — I used to look up to this organization. They always did what it takes to put good teams out there and win championships.”
The postseason has been when Beltran has shined—he hit two home runs with 15 RBI for the Cardinals in the 2013 playoffs and carries a career .333 average with 16 home runs and 40 RBI in the postseason.
That’s not the only reason the Yankees coveted Beltran, however. Manager Joe Girardi made it clear that Beltran’s everyday presence in the lineup makes the Yankees more potent.
“To be able to add another switch-hitter to the middle of our order gives me so much flexibility,” Girardi said.
Indeed, Beltran’s ability to hit from both sides of the plate is an added bonus, especially for a lineup that lost the services of second baseman Robinson Cano. Now, the Yankees will boast of two powerful switch hitters in Beltran and first baseman Mark Teixeira. Recently-added second baseman Brian Roberts also hits from both sides of the plate.
The Yankees have now added Beltran, Roberts, Jacoby Ellsbury catcher Brian McCann and infielder Kelly Johnson to their offense, making up for the loss of Cano and outfielder Curtis Granderson.
Beltran is still stung by the events in New York during his time with the Mets. He felt he was portrayed in a negative light by a team that was more than happy to give him a seven-year deal.
"The knee -- the organization trying to put me as a player that was a bad apple,” Beltran said. “I was this, I was that. I can deal with 0-for-4 and three strikeouts and talk to you guys. But when someone is trying to hurt you in a very personal way, trying to put things out there ... then we got trouble. Now, it's personal.
"When they say all that about myself, I was hurt. You cannot believe the organization that signed you for seven years is trying to put you down. In that aspect, I felt hurt."
Beltran will now have the chance to come back to the Big Apple for a second chance, and if his past two seasons are any indication, the Yankees may well be the beneficiary of that chance.