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AP source: Carlos Beltran reaches deal with Astros, $16M for 1 year

In this Sept. 3, 2016, file photo, Texas Rangers' Carlos Beltran bats against the Houston Astros during a baseball game in Arlington, Texas. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that free agent slugger Carlos Beltran and the Houston Astros have reached a one-year deal for $16 million. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, because there was no official announcement. ESPN first reported the agreement. (Mike Stone / Associated Press)
In this Sept. 3, 2016, file photo, Texas Rangers' Carlos Beltran bats against the Houston Astros during a baseball game in Arlington, Texas. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that free agent slugger Carlos Beltran and the Houston Astros have reached a one-year deal for $16 million. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, because there was no official announcement. ESPN first reported the agreement. (Mike Stone / Associated Press)
By Ben Walker Associated Press

Carlos Beltran is headed back to Houston, hoping his 20th season in the majors could bring him – and the Astros – a most elusive World Series championship.

A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Saturday that the free agent slugger and the Astros have reached a one-year deal for $16 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement. ESPN first reported the agreement.

Beltran joins a rich, revamped lineup, with Houston recently adding catcher Brian McCann and outfielder Josh Reddick to a talented, young nucleus.

Beltran, who turns 40 in April, hit a combined .295 with 29 home runs and 93 RBIs last season. The switch-hitter was traded from the New York Yankees to the Texas Rangers on Aug. 1 and split his time as a designated hitter and right fielder, playing 151 games.

A nine-time All-Star, Beltran has often excelled in October. His rise to postseason prominence began in his first playoff game, for Houston in 2004.

Acquired from Kansas City that summer, Beltran went on to hit a postseason record-tying eight homers in only 12 games while batting .435 with 14 RBIs, along with six steals. The Astros lost in the NL Championship Series to St. Louis that fall. In 2005, Beltran joined the New York Mets, while the Astros wound up getting swept by the White Sox in their only World Series appearance.

Beltran made his lone World Series appearance in 2013 with St. Louis, which lost to Boston in six games. Overall, he has hit .323 with 16 homers and 41 RBIs in 55 postseason games.

Beltran is a career .281 hitter with 421 home runs and 1,536 RBIs in 19 seasons with the Royals, Astros, Mets, Giants, Cardinals, Yankees and Rangers. He’s gone to the playoffs with five different teams.

Led by middle infielders Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa and ace Dallas Keuchel, the Astros ended a decade-long playoff drought – and reversed a four-year span in which they averaged well over 100 losses – by winning the AL wild card in 2015. Expected to be a championship contender this year, Houston instead went 84-78 and missed the playoffs.

The Astros have been busy since then, signing Reddick to a $52 million, four-year deal after he finished the season with the Dodgers and getting McCann in a trade with the Yankees. The Astros got $11 million from the Yankees to help cover the $34 million total he’s set to make in the next two seasons.

Along with his production on the field, Beltran has long been praised for his clubhouse influence and leadership, especially among young teammates. Beltran also runs an academy back home in Puerto Rico, where students focus on academics as well as athletics.

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