The switch-hitting outfielder brings some desired depth to the Cardinals outfield while also restoring some sock to the middle of the lineup that will be without three-time MVP Albert Pujols. Beltran, who will turn 35 in April, was one of the leading hitters in the National League in 2011 with a top-10 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .525, which ranked eighth among NL outfielders.
The Cardinals and Beltan’s agent, Dan Lozano, were able to finalize a deal Thursday evening. Beltran missed significant playing time in 2009 and 2010 as he recovered from knee surgeries, and the Cardinals wanted to understand more about his health before completing the deal. The Cardinals intensified their pursuit of the switch-hitter this week.