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Red Sox showing “strong interest” in Carlos Beltran

Nov 8, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

World Series - Boston Red Sox v St Louis Cardinals - Game Three Getty Images

Carlos Beltran has a qualifying offer on the table from the Cardinals, but he’s expected to decline the one-year, $14.1 million deal even if he wants to remain in St. Louis and now George King of the New York Post reports that the Red Sox are showing “strong interest” in the 36-year-old outfielder.

According to King–who, for whatever it’s worth, cites “a person who knows Beltran” as his source–the Red Sox could essentially try to replace Jacoby Ellsbury with Beltran, either by shifting Shane Victorino to center field or using Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.

King also writes that the Yankees and Orioles are interested in Beltran, who hit .296 with 24 homers and an .830 OPS in 145 games for the Cardinals and posted very similar overall numbers for St. Louis in 2012 as well. Two years ago Beltran got a two-year, $26 million deal as a free agent and it sounds like he’ll do better at 36 than he did at 34.

  1. proudlycanadian - Nov 8, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    The Yankees are making a habit of signing geezers, so he would be a good fit there. As far as Boston is concerned, is he willing to grow a bushy beard?

    • moseskkim - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      “geezer” is a disrespectful term when referring to beltran. dudes been amazing. skills heart passion. dont classify someone just by age.

      • biasedhomer - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        I believe geezer refers to age. So the term fits, he is a geezer relative to his fellow baseball players, but he doesn’t play like one.

    • yankeefan1950 - Nov 8, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      No, he’s not a good fit for the Yankees. While he’s older and has a history of injuries he can still hit and Cashman focuses on has-beens or never-was players that hit just over or under .200 these days.

    • mick2014 - Nov 8, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      The Red Sox batted .169 in the world series outside of Ortiz. The trio of Gomes, Victorino & Drew hit 142…Gomes found lightning in his bat in game 4 & Victorino/Drew got it in game 6. They could use a clutch switch hitter like Beltran considering they have so many hackers that strike out until they get a hanger to drive. The Red Sox won 95 games in 2005 & 2008 after winning the WS the previous yr. That was good for 2nd place in the A.L. East and a wild card berth. They need another reliable big bat in that lineup other then Ortiz with Napoli gone.

  2. keltictim - Nov 8, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Or the Red Sox are screwing with Baltimore and New York by jacking his price up. Not at all unheard of, if they get him great for the reasons stated above if they don’t then their rivals have to spend millions more. (Evil laugh here)

    • Panda Claus - Nov 8, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      Can’t see him going to Baltimore. More likely Beltran’s agent is using both Boston and Baltimore to drive up NY’s price. At least Boston’s interest makes some sense since they appear to have a need and can afford the terms. The Orioles aren’t likely to pay that money AND give up a pick.

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        More than to “jack up the price”, it is more likely that it is a move to expedite pursuit (i.e. get a contract signed earlier). When the Cardinals signed him, it was late in the FA period and most of the other potential options had dried up or where unattractive (e.g. KC made him a more lucrative offer than StL, but he wanted a chance to win). If his agent is doing anything, it is likely just to create the appearance of a competitive market so that teams don’t put signing him on the back burner again, which will increase the number of teams interested so that he has better options…but won’t have much affect on the years or dollars teams will give up.

      • djpostl - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        Oretty sure nobody gives up picks these days, the team that loses him merely gets a supplemental round pick in between 1st and 2d round.

      • djpostl - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        pretty*

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        If you sign a guy that turned down a QO, you lose a pick. I am not pretty sure of that. I know it for fact.

  3. peterjohnjoseph - Nov 8, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    My only concern is how he will handle right field at Fenway. We saw what it did to Victorino’s body. While he got a Gold Glove out of it, and put up some of the best defensive range numbers in the league, it also turned him into a human mummy over the season with injuries to his hips, thighs, arms, and shoulders. (Yes, most of those bandages were related to injuries in the field and not from balls pelting his body).

    Beltran’s isn’t nearly as fast, and has bad knees to begin with. Injury prone or not, anyone at his age is a risk at the position. Hell, Fenway almost took him out after the first few innings in Game 1 of the World Series. . If he’s not playing in the field, that would leave him to DH, and well, thats pretty much covered.

    • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Yep. His defense in StL has been horrible the last 2 years. He would be a better fit in LF in Fenway or RF in NY, since they are smaller….but he’ll still be a horrible defensive player.

      • stevequinn - Nov 8, 2013 at 9:46 PM

        @paperlions You’re insane. Having watched just about every game Carlos played over the past 2 years, I can tell you he is one of the best defensive players in the game. Too bad you didn’t watch the playoffs this year and witness the outstanding plays, and throws, he made.

      • paperlions - Nov 9, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        I did watch the playoffs. He made a couple of nice plays that an average RF makes more easily. A good RFer wouldn’t have been hurt on the HR-saving catch because he would have been waiting at the wall and jumped straight up rather than still drifting back and into the wall.

        I am not insane, I just don’t have homer colored glasses and understand what good outfield range looks like….what it doesn’t look like, is Beltran slowly jogging in the general direction of most balls hit to RF.

        His defense last year was horrible. If you want proof, feel free to peruse either of the defensive metrics that are based on experts reviewing film of every single play. He was the worst RFer in the majors last year, with only Cuddyer giving him a run for the title.

    • stevequinn - Nov 8, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      He wouldn’t play RF. He would be in LF. Less ground to cover and less wear and tear on his knees.

  4. rickdobrydney - Nov 8, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    Don’t know how his extreme laid back personality would fit into that nuts clubhouse —might not be a good fit —- he is a great player, but somewhat withdrawn —

    • lawrinson20 - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      We’ve had “withdrawn” players before. Drew, Lester, Ellsbury… currently. He would be fine.

      • negaduck - Nov 8, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        Don’t forget Edgar Renteria and Carl Crawford.

    • stevequinn - Nov 8, 2013 at 9:47 PM

      Beltran is a leader in the clubhouse. He leads by example. And he doesn’t lead in the media.

  5. insidefastball - Nov 8, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Victorino is a an excellent right fielder now, but he has lost a step. The Sox would take a hit defensively if they moved him to CF full time. Plus, putting Beltran in the same OF as Victorino likely means a lot of guys missing days for nagging injuries.

    • lawrinson20 - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      Compared to Ellsbury, whomsoever we field in Center will have “lost a step.” Victorino is still going to be on par with or better than most CFs. And Beltran’s bat will compensate for any defensive differential.

      The days missed can be eaten up by Nava and JBJ. In fact, i’d love it if Beltran and Victorino could be given regular rest, to save them for post season.

      I’m liking this idea. Better this than having the Yankees get him. I do NOT like seeing the Sox pitching to this guy.

  6. spudchukar - Nov 8, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Not particularly good news if you are a St. Louis fan. It has become clearer that the Cards aren’t going to re-sign Beltran, particularly if the guaranteed years goes over 2, or if the salary approaches $20 mil, both quite likely. The Cards have Taveras/Craig as options and that lessens Beltran’s leverage with them.

    But if the Sox do pony up the cash and years, the Red Birds will get the last #1 pick in the draft, not exactly ideal. But boy oh boy, do they ever have a lot of cash at their disposal if Beltran goes elsewhere.

    The Cards 2013 team salary was about 115 mil. Without Furcal, Westbrook, Carpenter, and Beltran the 2014 team number would be at $76 mil with no significant raise to any player on their roster and that includes retaining Freese, which is still a question the brass has to answer.

    With all the young power arms, and all that cash, and no glaring hole, (although many might quibble with their current SS options), it sure must be nice to be Mo.

    • stex52 - Nov 8, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      Just remember, guys, you heard it here first; even though I got a lot of “thumbs downs.” Carlos will go to the big money.

      • pisano - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        Why would you get a lot of thumbs down, it only makes sense that at his age he’s going for all he can, this is his last round up.

      • stex52 - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        Last week I suggested that the pursuit of the big buck defined Carlos for his whole career, instead of just recently.

        I got a lot of vehement disagreement.

        Honestly, I don’t care that much. It was just a statement.

      • stevequinn - Nov 8, 2013 at 9:51 PM

        He doesn’t care about the money. It’s number of years and playing time that are his priorities. The only reason he won’t be back with the Cardinals is because his playing time will be reduced.

        He’s already made more money than he’ll ever need.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 8, 2013 at 11:30 AM

      The Cardinals will be OK if he signs elsewhere. The team that does sign him will probably overpay.

      • spudchukar - Nov 8, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        Yeah, that is why I wanted the Cards to pursue him during the year. His post-season heroics probably put him out of reach, and who can blame him. This will be his last pay day, and if he goes to a contender then he is probably making the best decision.

    • gibbyfan - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      It will put the Cards in a good position payroll wise but it’s still better to be in LA, Boston, NY, Philly or a few other teams where an 25-50 million/year doesnt seem to make much difference.

      From what I read Beltran always had some preference for the Yanks –tried to go there before finally agreeing with the Mets –even for a little less money………………Too bad Cards didnt make that a three year deal because he will be missed

    • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      I would love to see them go after Ellsbury with the extra cash….but I doubt they will.

      I’ll miss Beltran’s bat and general presence….but I won’t miss watching should be outs hit to RF be singles or should be singles be doubles or triples. His defense was really really bad last year. The knees are shot.

      • spudchukar - Nov 8, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        His defense was iffy. Depending on the day. His passive play, was probably a combination of pain and protection. At times I found his play exasperating, and then he would up and surprise me with a play like days of yore.

        To his credit he plays smart, rarely makes a mental mistake, and when the game was on the line seemed to have an extra gear. So I think “bad” is being too harsh. His play is tolerable when you factor in his bat, base-running skills, and overall presence.

        I love productive switch-hitters though. They give a team a dimension that isn’t championed enough.

        A couple of years ago, I would be in agreement with you regarding Ellsbury, but watching him down the stretch, and in the post-season has tarnished him some, and I no longer have faith that he can regain his 2011 form.

        He has a lot of similarities to Kent actually. OK, but not to great until 2011. And while he has shown the ability to regain most of his previous form, and Kemp hasn’t yet he has injury questions too.

        I will try to be as delicate as I can about his power numbers in 2011. Out of nowhere, and so far not replicated.

        The Cards had a lot of success getting him out with power stuff inside, and his defense was not exemplary in 2013, and this comes from numerous Sox fans.

        In the end I do not think he is the answer. His base-stealing ability would be nice, but Wong, and a SS who can run should total like numbers to Ellsbury.

        The power numbers from Ellsbury are not going to be replicated. 10-15 max. But his declining defense is the deciding factor for me.

        SS first. Then CF. If it takes both Lynn and Miller to get it done, do it, and hopefully Freese is in the mix.

        But with the cash on hand there is NO reason the St. Louis brass cannot deliver high quality players at both positions and have plenty of ammo left on the mound.

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        Ellsbury doesn’t need those power numbers to be a fantastic player. He is an elite defensive player and elite base runner and is a very productive player at the plate. Guys that provide value in all aspects of the game are fantastically valuable.

        Beltran was among the very worst RFers in MLB last year. Is that horrible? Whatever the word is, he was among the very worst at doing it. I agree that you want him to play smart to stay healthy, but that still detracts from his value.

        I admit. I don’t think Craig will be much better going forward.

      • spudchukar - Nov 8, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        I’m in total agreement with you regarding him being an outstanding player without his power numbers. I just do not think as much of his D as you do, but it is a place where we often differ.

        If I believed he was an upper tier defender, then I would be behind pursuing him, but I just don’t value him as highly there as you do.

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        Well, he is FAR better than Jay.

        I honestly have no idea how you think Descalso isn’t a horrible defender or how Beltran is anything approaching average or acceptable. They are both horrible in the field…the advanced metrics say so (and again, those are based on people watching video of every play) and the eye test says so.

      • okwhitefalcon - Nov 8, 2013 at 1:56 PM

        I want no part of Ellsbury long term, he has one asset – legs.

        Legs do not age well.

        Overpay on a short term?

        Hell yes.

        Is that even remotely possible?

        Obviously not.

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        Legs age better than almost any other “skill”….and you are wrong, he has plenty of other skills. He can actually hit, too.

        I assume you want the Cardinals to sign some veteran pitchers because, you know, their rotation struggled for 2 months.

      • gibbyfan - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        I didn’t watch every Cardinal game or consult any metrics but from what I saw in the PS nad the games I did catch Catlos looked pretty good in the field…….that homer robbing catch in Boston–the assists etc……….looked very smooth and the best arm on the team…………..

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        I give up.

        The Cardinals defense was among the worst in the league in 2013. Yeah, Carlos had the “best” OF arm on the team, because no one on the team has a good arm. The Cardinals were average or better at SS (Kozma only), 2B, and catcher…everywhere else was below average to very bad.

      • gibbyfan - Nov 8, 2013 at 4:35 PM

        Paper –To me it seemed that Holiday was pretty bad in the field and of course Yadi the best in baseball –maybe Freeze below average but the other 5 seemed at least average. Beltran always seemed pretty smooth out there…not what he once was but that arm seems at least average…………….

      • okwhitefalcon - Nov 8, 2013 at 4:40 PM

        Reactionary false conclusion response paper – just goofy.

        Any GM in their right mind would prefer Ellsbury at a higher AAV short(er) term deal.

        Wrong side of thirty, limited power, legs never improve with age, et al.

        You’d be paying for what he’s done (and that’s not great) compared to what he’s going to do – and that will diminish with age.

        You want to pay 140 over 7 for a sliding trajectory? Go right ahead…

        Not sure why you “assume you (I) want the Cardinals to sign some veteran pitchers because, you know, their rotation struggled for 2 months.”

        I never advocated not staying the course with what they had and trading assets for a veteran – never.

        I thought you’d lost your mind when you assumed Joe Strauss hated Shelby Miller (and quite possibly Bernie Miklasz as well) and was personally trying to ride him out of town on a rail and this has confirmed my suspicions.

        You’re into Oliver Stone territory, never let facts get in the way of a false (not narrative) storyline.

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM

        Well, there is NO ONE else to spend money on that the Cardinals need. They need a real defensive CFer, especially with corner OFers (unless Taveras is playing RF) that have no range.

        There isn’t a SS to spend the money on….the have money to spend…and at this point, they don’t have anyone (including in-house extensions) to spend it on. Heck, they don’t even have any position players on the roster that don’t have an extension that should get one.

        If you want the team to get better, there are two obvious places to upgrade and CF is one of them.

  7. chrisernst82 - Nov 8, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    It makes no sense for the Cardinals to resign him, especially at that price. Adams is ready to take over as the everyday 1B. With Craig shifting to RF. Adams has what it takes to hit .290 with 30 HR. If you take his 296 AB’s and average it to 600 AB’s then you get an all star. And that was a lot of spot start and pinch hits, let him get into a groove like he did when Crag went down at the end of the season and the sky is the limit. Its not like the guy hasn’t mashed at every stop in the minors. When Taveras is ready which I don’t think will be long. They will have him in CF and Jay can cover all 3 OF positions as a backup. No need for Beltran. Spend the money in house and extend some contracts or get a SS. Plain and simple.

    • spudchukar - Nov 8, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      I do not think the Cards project Taveras as a center fielder.

      • paperlions - Nov 8, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        Not long term. But he is athletic enough to be okay (i.e. better than Jay) there for at least a couple of years.

    • mrjameshogg - Nov 9, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      Adams’s part-time stats benefit from platoon advantage, if he faces LHP full time his BA will drop precipitously (.231 BA and OBP vs LHP in ’13, slugged only .430 vs southpaws) … even if he improves w/ major league practice, in 600 PA (no way he gets 600 AB with double switches and being pinch hit for) he’s slashing .270/.330/.470 at best. Still ok, but …

  8. missingdiz - Nov 8, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    I’m a big Beltran fan. He’s been great for the Cardinals. But when I watch him jog in from the outfield he looks like me jogging, and I’m 61. To bet on those knees lasting more than 2 years would be crazy. Obviously, I hope I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

  9. pastabelly - Nov 8, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    To be fair, the Red Sox show “strong interest” in many players whom they never even bid for. Bradley Junior cannot be counted on for 2014 and the Sox need a stop gap. That could be Beltran, Byrd, Choo, or they could trade for someone.

  10. xpensivewinos - Nov 8, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    I would love to see the Red Sox let Ellsbury walk and simply replace him with Bradley in center and put Victorino in right or left………then upgrade over the Gomes/Nava/Carp/Crap guys they’ve got.

    Hell, it’s early in the off-season, might as well dream about a Stanton or Trumbo trade…….

  11. xpensivewinos - Nov 8, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    Big fan of Beltran, but he is far too injury prone and Choo will be far to expensive for way too many years to be a stop-gap.

    Chris Young for two million is a stop-gap.

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