ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Next up in the trading order for the Yankees as they approach Monday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline most likely is switch-hitting slugger Carlos Beltran, who hit his 22nd home run in a 5-3 loss to the Rays on Sunday. If there was some doubt about the Yankees’ desire to trade their best hitter, it evaporated Sunday morning when they traded closer Andrew Miller six days after trading closer Aroldis Chapman.
Beltran insisted he isn’t paying attention to business beyond his control, but the message from management about the direction of the 2016 Yankees was unmistakable.
“Well, there’s no doubt they’re trying to add good players to the organization for the future,” he said. “That’s the mentality. As an organization, I guess they feel happy they got good players in return. It’s business, man.”
Although he now is more of a liability in rightfield and is more valuable to an American League team as a designated hitter, Beltran still enjoys playing the field and could be a productive rental for any team before heading into free agency in the offseason. He has a partial no-trade clause.
Asked if he feels as if he’s now the No. 1 trade target on the Yankees, Beltran said, “I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. I can’t say anything because I don’t make the decisions here.”
He said it was easy to understand the Chapman trade because he was going to be a free agent and the Yankees still had a strong bullpen with Miller and Dellin Betances.
“Now, trading [Miller], it’s a message that they’re really serious about rebuilding,” Beltran said. “At the end of the day, you still have Betances, who is a future closer. It’s tough, but you’ve got to move on.”
Although the Yankees now have a much higher hill to climb to reach the playoffs, Beltran said he’d like to remain. “I love playing in New York,” he said.
By 4:01 p.m. Monday at the latest, he said he will be happy to learn his fate. Asked if he expects to join the Yankees at Citi Field for the Subway Series opener against the Mets, Beltran said, “I’ll be there.”
Someone asked, “Which clubhouse?” and Beltran had to laugh.