Up until October the story was that the most important thing to St. Louis Cardinals free agent outfielder was a chance to win a World Series ring.
Apparently the career priorities have changed for the veteran slugger.
According to the Kansas City Star, Beltran is close to a three-year contract with the Kansas City Royals. The contract could total as much as $48 million. He'll reportedly spurn two-year contract proposals from the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox and the free spending New York Yankees to take a more lucrative pact from a team that hasn't made it to the post season in 28 years.
Beltran supposedly wants guaranteed playing time as he makes a push for the Hall of Fame. And he'll get plenty of that in Kansas City where he'll enjoy a homecoming to the place where his major league career started.
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But it's hard to imagine how he can throw away a chance to win a World Series championship after coming so close. Is it satisfying for him just to play in the Fall Classic in a losing effort? I know there's no guarantee of a title no matter where he plays. But there aren't many teams in baseball whose fans have suffered longer than those in Kansas City. One of those clubs, the Cleveland Indians, supposedly offered Beltran more money and a longer deal two years ago than he ended up getting in St. Louis. But he passed on the offer to have a chance to win a title with the Cardinals.
I wonder if the Cardinals didn't have a log jam in the outfield and there was an opportunity to stay in St. Louis if he would have still walked away for more money from a losing team.
I'm not trying to condemn Beltran for his choice. I'm just trying to understand it.