In Beltran's Best Interest

Boras Seeks a 10-year Contract for 'Los (Getty)

InsidethePark.com's Jason A. Churchill sounds off on why superstar free agent Carlos Beltran might just be better off staying away from Steinbrenner's money. Will Scott Boras push his client toward evil forces?

The market opens on Friday the 12th, not Friday the 13th. But as strange as it sounds, it's hard to ignore the glaring reasons why free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran would be ill-advised to sign on the dotted line for a Steinbrenner paycheck. Many reasons are plain and simple, some not as easy to notice, and one that is down right scary-if your name is Carlos Beltran.

The recent word that uber-agent Scott Boras is asking for a 10-year contract for his star client has many believing that the Yankees are the only suitors who would even consider such an idea. Why not, right, they have already done it with Derek Jeter?

The arguments against the Yankees offering Beltran a huge contract are not nearly as valid as the reasons why Beltran shouldn't do anything more than use the Yankees to get the best deal from the Chicago Cubs. The Yankees need Beltran's defense. They sorely need to refresh the middle of their order and replace Bernie Williams. Even though they are in dire need of starting pitching more than anything, you can argue that Steinbrenner's Bronx Bombers really need to land a player like Beltran.

But does Beltran need the Yankees? Not really.

The superstar center fielder has plenty of suitors and would only need to hint toward the Yankees as a possible destination to drive the price up enough to land a six or seven year deal for upwards of $15 million per season.

The best chance for Beltran to win a World Series might be with the Yankees. But then again, it might not. If he were to sign with the Cubs or Red Sox, both would likely become instant favorites to win their league and have as much of a shot at the whole burrito as would the Yankees.

Should Beltran head to Anaheim, the Angels would probably be one starting pitcher from being right there with the Yankees and Red Sox in the American League race.

Staying in Houston seems highly unlikely these days but the Astros, who were just a game away from the big dance this past season, would likely be considered favorites to win the NL Central even with the Cardinals returning their entire lineup.

It's pretty clear that Beltran doesn't need the Yankees to fulfill his baseball dreams. Scott Boras may prefer it, but the player doesn't need it, and from the sound of things, he doesn't want it.

Many reports out of camp Beltran have hinted that the 27-year-old prefers a much more relaxed city away from the east coast, leading many to believe that Anaheim, the Cubs and the Dodgers are the top three teams in contention for his services.

Either way, the argument can be made that Beltran is more likely to end up somewhere other than in Yankee pinstripes.

But there is one more reason why Beltran shouldn't accept 10-year offer from Boss George to play the balance of his career with the most storied franchise in sports history.

What if after five or six seasons, which would put us in the year 2010 or so, the Yankees are still looking back on the 2000 season as their last World Series title?

Along with Steinbrenner, manager Joe Torre, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and GM Brian Cashman, Beltran would be forced to take a large part of the blame for the team's lack of highly expected success in bringing home the bacon every October.

The media would almost assuredly be pointing a few of their "blaming" fingers toward the acquisition of Beltran over the extra starting pitcher or two.

Beltran could end up as the latest version of Alex Rodriguez, in the sense that he would be the huge contract that didn't win his club a title.

Sure the financial repercussions are vastly different than what Rodriguez's contract did to the Texas Rangers, but the fans and media will not allow a high-profile athlete escape from criticism, should he fail in any fashion.

The added pressure of a 10-year contract, which is sure to stir up comparisons to AROD's deal with Tom Hicks, is a major negative for a low-key player such as Carlos Beltran.

Imagine Beltran being at the center of attention when the Yankees finish the 2006 season out of the postseason for the first time since 1993, when Beltran was barely old enough to obtain a driver's license in the United States. Add to that the unknown factor of who the manager will be in a few years, as Torre's career clearly enters the final season or two, and what you have is uncertainty in New York.

All this does is add pressure and scrutiny to the players in general, and specifically those with recent big-money contracts.

As followers of Mariners baseball, fans in Seattle would love to see Beltran don the navy and white. Furthermore, most baseball fanatics outside New York City would do anything to make sure Beltran lands anywhere but the Bronx. The reason is because nobody wants to see the hated Yankees get even better. Seeing the rich get richer curdles the blood of the general fan.

But as a Carlos Beltran admirer, and one who thinks he is as good of an all-around player as their is in all of baseball, I just don't want to see the kid get tossed into the frying pan, as Alex Rodriguez was in Texas and is experiencing this fall in New York.

Rodriguez deserves better. It wasn't his fault that Hicks backed out of his promises. It's not his fault that the Yankees pitching was sub par after game three of the 2004 ALCS.

Beltran, also, deserves much more than to have to go through that, no matter how many zeros are on his paychecks.

Here's to Boras doing what is best for his client, for once, rather than what is best for his own wallet.

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