Beltran to Yankees for 3 years, $45 million

It didn’t take the Yankees long to spend some of the money they saved when Robinson Cano danced away from The Bronx.

Hours after their best player, Cano, accepted a 10-year deal for $240 million from the Mariners on Friday, the Yankees dropped a three-year contract for $45 million on right fielder Carlos Beltran and the switch-hitting former Met accepted it.

Beltran, who will turn 37 in April, batted .296 with 24 homers, 84 RBIs and had a .830 OPS last season for the NL champion Cardinals.

At the outset of free agency, the Yankees adored Beltran and thought he would fit nicely into right field. However, when he asked for three years the Yankees balked.

Beltran this week visited Kansas City, where he broke into the major leagues, and he also was linked to the Rangers and Red Sox.

The Yankees signing center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year deal for $153 million Tuesday night seemed to be a sign Beltran wasn’t in their plans. However, when Cano split, the Yankees had money to spend and now have Beltran, pending a physical, to play right field and hit in the middle of the order.

Adding Beltran means the Yankees have five outfielders for three spots and they could be dealing Brett Gardner for a pitcher or Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips to replace Cano.

If Gardner isn’t dealt, he will play left field. That will give the Yankees an outfield of Gardner, Ellsbury and Beltran and turn Alfonso Soriano into a DH, a role he isn’t wild about.

Or they could see if anybody wants Ichiro Suzuki, who appears to have no role on the club even if Gardner is dealt.

Beltran is the fourth big-ticket free agent added to the Yankees’ roster. Catcher Brian McCann got five years and $85 million before Ellsbury was seduced to leave the World Champion Red Sox. Hiroki Kuroda has agreed to a one-year deal for $16 million with a chance to make $500,000 in incentives.