Free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran has reportedly signed a two-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the two sides finalized the $26 million deal on Thursday, giving the Cards a big bat in the middle of the order to help replace Albert Pujols, who signed a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. The deal includes a no-trade clause.
Reports earlier in the day indicated the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians were making a push for the 34-year-old switch-hitter, reportedly joining the Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and possibly one or two other clubs in the mix.
Beltran, who is coming off a seven-year, $119-million contract, hit .300 with 22 home runs and 84 RBI in 142 games with the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants last season. He missed playing time in 2009 and '10 as he recovered from knee surgeries.