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Beltran wants how many years?

I'm not disappointed that Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran turned down a qualifying offer from St. Louis to try to get a longer deal.

I pretty much expected that. But I figured there was room for Beltran to come back to the Redbirds with a compromise two-year pact.

I'm more than a little shocked, however, that it has come out that Beltran is looking for a four-year contract at the age of 37. He had to know that demand would slam the door on a return to St. Louis where the Cardinals have a traffic jam in right field.

I suppose that just playing in the World Series was enough for the former Royals, Astros, Mets, Giants and Cardinals slugger. Because, unless he signs with the Red Sox, it's hard to argue that anyplace else he goes would offer as good of a chance to get back to the Fall Classic -- and put Beltran in position to get a ring -- as St. Louis.

If the money is the most important thing to Beltran, that's up to him. But the guy has made $161 million over the course of his career. So it's a little unseemly to see him demand that a team over-extend itself on him in the same way Albert Pujols did to create the opening that brought him to the Cardinals in the first place. I know Beltran wants to make his case for the Hall of Fame. But if he's not good enough to add to his Cooperstown credentials, are we to believe that no team would give him the opportunity to play? This is about Beltran taking advantage of his last opportunity to get a team to pay him to play beyond the time he is likely to be a productive player.

It wasn't that long ago that Beltran was expected to go to the America League where he could squeeze a couple or three more years out of his poor, aching knees. Now he's as spry as a spring chicken and ready to play the outfield for four more seasons?

If Beltran wants to leave, fine. But the Redbirds now need to think about trying to find another righty bat elsewhere. If the Cardinals plug lefty Oscar Taveras into the lineup playing centerfield and put Allen Craig in right, they're going to get a little bit lefty heavy with Matt Adams at first base. Especially if lefty Matt Carpenter moves to third base to make room for left Kolton Wong at second.