The Yankees got a win and a win-win against the Angels on Monday night.
The win was stunning. Shut out for 6 2⁄3 innings by unheralded Matt Shoemaker, the Yankees tied the score on back-to-back home runs by Brian McCann and Starlin Castro.
An inning later, Carlos Beltran blasted an opposite-field three-run homer to right, and the Yankees went on to a 5-2 victory.
The win-win? That’s what Beltran continued to provide in the final year of his Yankees contract.
If he performs well — and he has been hands-down the Yankees’ best hitter — the Yankees either will win enough games to become relevant in the playoff picture or have one of the hottest commodities on the trade market.
The same can be said for winning pitcher Andrew Miller, who struck out the side in the eighth, and closer Aroldis Chapman, who shrugged off Sunday’s blown save in Baltimore to retire the final three batters on a strikeout and two foul pop-ups for his 10th save in 11 chances.
The Yankees may not have enough firepower to make the postseason, but if they falter, they could have a large say in who plays deep into October while restocking their own system.
Of course, the Yankees are not thinking about that now. At 27-30 and with only Mark Teixeira out of their regular lineup, they have about seven weeks to convince Brian Cashman that he should add instead of subtract before the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
Beltran, who is batting .272 with 14 homers and 36 RBIs, has been traded twice before in-season. In 2004, he went from Kansas City to Houston and led the Astros to the NLCS with one of the most prodigious displays of postseason hitting in baseball history.
Seven years later, the Mets sent Beltran to the Giants for Zack Wheeler. Beltran got hurt in San Francisco and didn’t have the same impact, but the Mets were happy with their return.
Beltran has a limited no-trade clause. At age 39 and having been traded before the deadline twice, he knows exactly what the deal is.
Here’s a crazy thought: Everyone is assuming the Yankees will not re-sign Beltran after the season because the DH spot belongs to Alex Rodriguez, who has one more year left on his contract.
But maybe Beltran should be brought back next year, even if he is dealt away. He’s as good a guy as he is a hitter. And he’s still a very good hitter.
“I don’t know, man,” Beltran told Newsday. “I’ve made it clear that I want to play more. At the end of the day, I’ve got to come here and continue to play.”
Asked if he would like to come back to the Yankees next year, Beltran said: “I would love to. I live in New York, my family’s here. But I understand there is a business part of the game and organizations make decisions based on what is best for the organization. I would love to, but it’s not in my hands. In my hands is being able to come here every day and being able to contribute in a positive way.”
He certainly did that with two outs in the eighth inning when he launched an 0-and-1 pitch from lefthander Jose Alvarez into the rightfield seats.
In an eight-batter span, the Yankees had five hits, including three home runs, and scored all five of their runs. A sign of things to come? Or a sign of who’s going to go at the deadline?
“The other day, I was thinking about how many games we have left,” Beltran said. “We have a lot of games left. If we are capable of putting things together, we could have fun.”