A veteran of almost everything baseball can offer – with the All-Star appearances and knee operations to prove it – Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran knows the business and understands the club doesn't owe him any insight into its future.
But he said Monday he would like to be a part of it.
That will depend entirely, he added, on the present.
"I have to find out what the organization's plans are – they don't really have to come to me and explain it to me," Beltran said during his appearance on the final day of the team's 17th annual Winter Warm-Up. "It depends on how this year goes, probably. I really love playing here. There's no doubt about that. I experienced something I didn't experience in a long time, being able to be in a good clubhouse, so many good people and playing in front of these fans. … It makes everything easy.
"We'll see what happens."
Beltran, who turns 36 in April, is entering the final year of his two-year, $26 million contract with the team, a deal he signed as part of his pursuit of a World Series championship. The switch-hitter delivered a team-high 32 home runs last season to go with 97 RBIs, an All-Star appearance, and, as impressive, 151 games played. He played more innings in the field than he had since 2008, and a contributing factor to his durability and productivity was the Cardinals' plan to proactively schedule days off for the veteran outfielder.
Knee injuries that required surgery eroded his playing time and limited him to 145 games total from 2009 to 2010. He's played at least 140 in the past two seasons, and health has meant wealth. Beltran's 54 home runs in the past two seasons, his .510 slugging percentage and his 181 RBIs all rank in the top 10 among all outfielders. The Cardinals intend to be responsive to his knees and his needs, and could even expand that umbrella of pre-emptive rest to include other veterans such as shortstop Rafael Furcal.
Beltran's future depends on the present
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Jan 22