The Yankees' mission to replace Robinson Cano began almost immediately late Friday night when they agreed to a three-year, $45-milion contract with Carlos Beltran, according to two sources, less than 12 hours after learning Cano was lost to the Mariners.
Beltran, the former Met and recent Cardinal, figured to be out of the mix as recently as Tuesday after the Yankees made a bold and surprising move to grab Jacoby Ellsbury with a seven-year, $153-million deal. But when it appeared Thursday night that Cano was slipping to Seattle, the Yankees began to reconsider other options, and negotiations resumed quickly Friday after Cano agreed on a 10-year, $240-million contract with the Mariners.
Initially, the Yankees had pursued Beltran with a two-year deal, but ultimately gave in to three Friday because, as one source said, they "wanted to make a big splash" after passing on Cano. Going to that length, however, is not without risk. Beltran will be 37 in April and has been bothered by knee problems in the past, but he did manage to stay healthy with the Cardinals, playing no fewer than 145 games in his two seasons.
The switch-hitting Beltran joins Ellsbury and Brian McCann in a reloaded Yankees' lineup that is shaping up to be dangerous again -- even without Cano. Beltran had an .830 OPS last season with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs for St. Louis. Those numbers should be enhanced at Yankee Stadium.
Despite not spending on Cano, the Yankees already have invested $299 million this offseason on four players, including Friday's other signing of Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $16-million contract.