What could make the world champs even better? Well, getting Carlos Beltran certainly wouldn’t hurt.
The Red Sox are in the running for the veteran outfielder, who is also being pursued by two of Boston’s American League East rivals, the Yankees and the Orioles, according to the New York Post. While all three teams have shown interest, the Sox “have been more aggressive,” the Post reports.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, meanwhile, says that Boston is interested but not as aggressive as reported.
Beltran, 37, played his second season for the St. Louis Cardinals last year. He’s been all over the major leagues, starting with the Royals and playing almost seven seasons for the Mets. He also had stops in Houston and San Francisco. As well as his .283 career average and .339 on-base percentage, he’s also known for his knack for hitting in the postseason, where he has a .333/.445/.683 slash line as well as 16 home runs and 40 RBIs in 51 games.
Beltran has been given a $14.1 million qualifying offer by the Cardinals, meaning whichever team signs him will have to give a draft pick to St. Louis in return.
The Sox have several reasons to pursue Beltran. First, they could do some damage to the Yankees, who need help all over the diamond (although New York could do better than signing another aging former star). The Yankees especially need to take care of their outfield, where free agent Curtis Granderson may not return, and which New York has patched with various short-term veteran acquisitions in recent years.
Boston also can help itself by getting another capable fielder and bat, especially with the uncertainty surrounding center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who is testing free agency. While the Sox have Jackie Bradley Jr. coming up and got great production from Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes and the versatile Daniel Nava last season, those players’ ability to platoon was a major advantage for the Red Sox last year.
Finally, scooping up an eight-time All-Star (including the last three years) who hit .296 last season with 24 home runs gives Boston plenty of pop while keeping it away from opponents — which, even if Beltran doesn’t sign within the AL East, at least keeps him from robbing homers from the Sox, as David Ortiz knows well.