Thursday, May 28, 2015
Posted by el duque at 7:03 AM
Last year, he ran into the right field wall and somersaulted like Liza Minelli. He spent the rest of the season flailing at bad pitches and barely able to throw. It carried over into 2015. Three weeks ago, at age 38, he was hitting .181 with a bat that produced more Pop-Ups than Kellogg's of Battle Creek. Worst of all, he sat in the middle in the lineup, killing rallies the way Paul Reiser once killed sitcoms.
Yesterday, Beltran singled twice, continuing a 15-game hitting streak and lifting his average to - well, whoopie - .245! He has only three HRs, and is projected - according to stat gurus - to finish with 16. Certainly, he's not worth the money Hal "I'm Not Cheap" Steinbrenner will shell out over three years, but we fans should never concern ourselves with Hal's money. "I'm Not Cheap" excretes gold nuggets and wipes his butt with $500 bills. (Yoan Moncada now hitting .333 over 18 AB in Single A.)
The real question: Can Beltran help this team and save his soul?
A month ago, I'd say hell, no. Back then, Chris Young was viable. The Yankees had no place for a bad fielding, bad hitting, former Met. Now... I dunno. My fear remains that Beltran, just as his average approaches Jumbotron respectability, will tweak a corpsucle and miss eight weeks. The problem with 38-year-olds: They get hurt brushing their teeth. Also, it's maddening how long the Yankees go with them before cutting bait, always denying young players a chance. Yes, the hitting coaches know more than we do. But damn, it's tiring to always be watching the sad end of players' careers. It would be nice to watch a beginning, now and then.
If Beltran stars hitting with power, the Yankees could take this ridiculously bad division. (Though all five teams won't suck forever.) Beltran will never get a CF monument. But if he could put together two solid years, his career numbers would put him within striking distance of Cooperstown. Who knows? Dare we hope? Or are the juju gods just taunting us?