Bel­tran re­tires af­ter win­ning 1st ti­tle

West Hawaii Today - - Sports - BY KRISTIE RIEKEN

HOUS­TON — It took quite some time, but Car­los Bel­tran fi­nally got there, win­ning a World Se­ries ti­tle af­ter 20 sea­sons in the ma­jors.

Now he is leav­ing the Hous­ton Astros and leav­ing baseball, re­tir­ing af­ter a ca­reer in which he was a nine-time All-Star and was Rookie of the Year. The 40-year-old des­ig­nated hit­ter and out­fielder made the an­nounce­ment Mon­day, 12 days af­ter the Astros beat the Los An­ge­les Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Se­ries.

He an­nounced his re­tire­ment in an es­say writ­ten for The Play­ers’ Tri­bune web­site. His story touched on what fi­nally win­ning a cham­pi­onship meant to him.

“I re­al­ized early on that my pur­pose in this game was to share knowl­edge with younger play­ers and to give back to the game of baseball,” he wrote. “I al­ways wanted to do that — that, and be the best team­mate I could pos­si­bly be. Over 20 years, I feel like I ac­com­plished that.

“So whether we won or lost Game 7, I would have still been happy with my ca­reer. But it still feels nice to have a ring,” he


Be­sides be­ing named an All-Star nine times, most re­cently in 2016, and the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year, he won three Gold Glove and two Silver Slug­ger awards.

His pro­duc­tion dropped dra­mat­i­cally this year. He hit .295 with 29 homers and 93 RBIs for the New York Yan­kees and Texas in 2016. He then bat­ted .231 with 14 homers and 51 RBIs for Hous­ton. De­spite that, Bel­tran’s vet­eran pres­ence and his work with Hous­ton’s younger play­ers in­clud­ing Jose Al­tuve, Car­los Cor­rea and Mar­win Gon­za­lez proved in­valu­able for the Astros.

“He was worth ev­ery penny for us … he helped us win in a lot of ways, even though his num­bers were not what they were last year, he con­trib­uted in a lot of ways that were not re­ally seen by our fans,” Hous­ton gen­eral man­ager Jeff Luh­now said. “They were talked about a lot by our play­ers. Also I think peo­ple know what I’m talk­ing about. He re­ally was a player-coach for us this year and he con­trib­uted in ways that lead me to be­lieve there’s no way we win the cham­pi­onship with­out him this year.”

He fin­ishes with a .279 av­er­age, 435 homers, 1,587 RBIs and 312 stolen bases. He also has played for Kansas City, the New York Mets, San Fran­cisco and St. Louis.

This sea­son was Bel­tran’s sec­ond stint with the Astros, af­ter he was traded to Hous­ton in June 2004. His work that postseason re­mains one of the best play­off per­for­mances in his­tory. He hit .455 with four homers and nine RBIs in an NLDS win over At­lanta, then bat­ted .417 with four more homers and five RBIs be­fore Hous­ton was elim­i­nated by the Car­di­nals in the NLCS.

Bel­tran ap­peared in 10 games this postseason, in­clud­ing three in the World Se­ries. He fin­ished with three hits, in­clud­ing two dou­bles, and an RBI in help­ing the Astros to their first ti­tle.

Many of his cur­rent and for­mer team­mates ex­pressed their grat­i­tude and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Bel­tran on so­cial me­dia af­ter his an­nounce­ment on Mon­day. Cor­rea posted a pic­ture of the two of them on In­sta­gram with a cap­tion that read in part: “I will al­ways look up to you brother! Thanks for mak­ing me a bet­ter player and a bet­ter per­son! I’m go­ing to miss you so much!”

Hous­ton right-han­der Justin Ver­lan­der tweeted about Bel­tran’s re­tire­ment, writ­ing: “We only played to­gether for a short time but what a ride we had! I learned a lot about what be­ing a vet­eran means and the im­pact we can have. You’re an amaz­ing team­mate and leader. What a way to bow out … a World Cham­pion!”

Yan­kees gen­eral man­ager Brian Cash­man wouldn’t say whether Bel­tran was a can­di­date to re­place Joe Gi­rardi as his team’s man­ager. But he did rave about his ca­reer and the re­spect he has for him.

“He had lead­er­ship qual­i­ties, no ques­tion about that,” Cash­man said. “He was some­one that peo­ple grav­i­tated to in the club­house. I think man­agers or coaches could rely, or front of­fices could rely on (him), kind of di­rect­ing things in a pos­i­tive way or keep­ing the ship steered in the right di­rec­tion.”

Af­ter what Luh­now saw from Bel­tran in Hous­ton this sea­son, he could en­vi­sion him be­com­ing a man­ager one day.

“Cer­tainly. He’s one of the bright­est minds I’ve come across in the game,” he said. “Now whether or not, I haven’t (spo­ken) to him about what is in­ten­tions are af­ter this, but I think he cer­tainly would be a tremen­dous as­set to any or­ga­ni­za­tion in what­ever ca­pac­ity he chooses to con­trib­ute.”


ORLANDO, Fla. — The Mi­ami Mar­lins will spend this week’s gen­eral man­agers’ meet­ings shop­ping Gian­carlo Stan­ton, the pricey slug­ger who led the ma­jor leagues with 59 home runs but does not fit into the plans of the new pay­roll-par­ing baseball op­er­a­tions staff headed by for­mer New York Yan­kees star Derek Jeter.

As the meet­ings be­gan Mon­day, Mar­lins pres­i­dent of baseball op­er­a­tions Mike Hill said, “I think over the next few days I’ll get a feel for what the mar­ket­place is for our play­ers.”

Stan­ton, who turned 28 last week, is owed $295 mil­lion over the fi­nal decade of his record $325 mil­lion, 13-year con­tract. He has a full no-trade pro­vi­sion, so he can de­ter­mine his des­ti­na­tion.

Hill said, “I do have a sense, and we’ll keep that in­ter­nal, and at the ap­pro­pri­ate time we’ll dis­cuss what­ever we need to dis­cuss.”


Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger have been voted unan­i­mously as baseball’s Rook­ies of the Year af­ter their record-set­ting home run binges lifted the New York Yan­kees and Los An­ge­les Dodgers into the postseason.

Judge won Amer­i­can League hon­ors, be­com­ing the first Yan­kees player to re­ceive the award since Derek Jeter in 1996. Bellinger took the Na­tional League award, giv­ing the Dodgers a record 18th Rookie of the Year win­ner.

The vot­ing by the Baseball Writ­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica was an­nounced Mon­day night on MLB Net­work. Judge led the AL with 52 home runs, a rookie record. Bellinger hit 39 homers for an NL rookie record.

Bos­ton out­fielder Andrew Ben­in­tendi fin­ished sec­ond in the AL vote, and St. Louis in­fielder Paul DeJong was the NL run­ner-up.


AT­LANTA — The At­lanta Braves have hired for­mer Dodgers and Blue Jays ex­ec­u­tive Alex An­thopou­los as their gen­eral man­ager, giv­ing the team a young but ex­pe­ri­enced leader to pro­vide sta­bil­ity amid a cri­sis.

An­thopou­los also was named ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent in con­trol of baseball op­er­a­tions.

The 40-year-old An­thopou­los was in­tro­duced by team chair­man Terry McGuirk, who at a news con­fer­ence Mon­day also an­nounced that John Hart is mov­ing into a new role as a se­nior ad­viser as An­thopou­los takes over baseball op­er­a­tions from Hart.

An­thopou­los suc­ceeds John Cop­polella, who was forced to re­sign on Oct. 2 af­ter an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Ma­jor League Baseball dis­closed rule vi­o­la­tions com­mit­ted by the Braves in the in­ter­na­tional player mar­ket.

An­thopou­los, Toronto’s one­time gen­eral man­ager, spent the last two sea­sons as the Dodgers’ vice pres­i­dent of baseball op­er­a­tions.


Hous­ton’s Justin Ver­lan­der, right, and Car­los Bel­tran cel­e­brate af­ter clinch­ing the AL West crown. The Astros went on to beat the Dodgers in the 2017 World Se­ries.

New York's Aaron Judge (99) was named AL Rookie of the Year.

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