New Astros’ DH Carlos Beltran talked about his time with the Astros and why he returned now?
Last season, the Houston Astros lacked leadership in the clubhouse to prevent slumps. This is not a knock on A.J. Hinch. Young baseball players need a clubhouse leader. Remember the days of Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. They may have been quiet leaders, but they were leaders. This was something that Carlos Beltran remembers in the 90+ games with the Astros.
Beltran wrote a post via the Players Tribune to Astros fans explaining the reason he returned to Houston. This letter was very thoughtful and well written. You may have expected him to defend his reason for leaving after the 2004 season, but instead, he talked about his experience in Houston. He also expressed extreme excitement of what this team can be in 2017.
Return the favor.
When he was traded to the Stros, his locker was next to the now Hall of Famer Biggio. Beltran recalls that he was 23 then, but Biggio took him under his wing. Beltran wrote, “it made perfect sense, and, of course, I listened. Then I spent the rest of the season learning everything I could from Biggio. I watched him like a hawk.”
A.J. Hinch talked about Beltran on a recent Talking Stros.
Biggio had just told him how pitchers pitch in the National League. While it was a short stint with the Stros, Beltran said that Biggio had a lasting effect on his career. Looking at the tone of what Beltran wrote, he wanted to return the favor now as the grizzled veteran. He felt like they were a talented bunch, but he wanted to help them and others become better.
One of the first things that Beltran did after signing with Houston was to go out to dinner with two of the top young stars on the team. Before signing, Beltran said that he coordinated a dinner with Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. After talking to the two players, Beltran realized that both players weren’t satisfied with their play.
Altuve was in the MVP discussion for most of the year, but he wants to get better. During the dinner, Altuve told Beltran that he thinks that he can hit better. Correa has the potential to be one of the top players in the game. Like Biggio, Beltran wants to be a mentor to not just Altuve and Correa. He wants to be able to help George Springer, A.J. Reed, and Alex Bregman as well.
He wants to win!
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You could tell that Beltran is getting excited to go further this time around with the Stros possibly. While he is now 39-years-old, he still has a lot to offer to this young team. He admitted that the end of his career might be near, but he thinks this Astros squad can go all the way. Hinch has told him that they see him more as a designated hitter this year.
Despite years of being booed in Houston, Beltran still felt the need to finish his career here potentially. Since returning, he said that the reason he did not re-sign after the 2004 season was because of a no-trade clause. While we all have our feelings about how that whole situation unfolded, we need to support Beltran this season. He could return the favor by winning a World Series in Houston.
Beltran has already demonstrated with words his leadership skills, let’s hope he walks the walk as well. When playing the Rangers, the team needs someone to not let the team get bullied by the team up north. The road to the AL West goes through Arlington, Beltran will not let the team get picked on this year.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***