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MLB Trade Rumors: Carlos Beltran Could Join Pirates, Haunt Cardinals Forever

I want to be gentle with this, so—sit down, please. Carlos Beltran, the official supervillain of the St. Louis Cardinals' 2004 NLCS victory over the Astros and the New York Mets' major trade chit as they look to rebuild and get considerably cheaper, could end up in the National League Central. Beltran, now a right fielder thanks to his recurring leg problems, nevertheless has an OPS+ of 153 in 2011—the best figure of his career, with a league-leading 30 doubles and 14 home runs. And there's an outside chance that the Pittsburgh Pirates attempt to make a trade for him. 

More recent talk has the Pirates "not going full-speed" after Beltran, but as desperate as they are to prove to fans they're serious about competing for once—and to actually make a mostly luck-driven run a little more for-real in the second half—a look at Beltran, a free agent after this year, makes surprising amounts of sense for the light-hitting Pirates, who with Andrew McCutchen would be under no temptation to move Beltran back into center. 

In case you forgot, in 2004 Beltran hit .417/.563/.958 with four home runs and 12 runs scored in the Astros' losing effort. In 2006, with the Mets, he was again foiled by a World Series-bound MV3 squad, but he still hit .296/.387/.667 with three more home runs in that seven-game series. Woody Williams has a lightning bolt-shaped scar that burns every time Carlos Beltran feels joy.