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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rumor Mill: Number of teams interested in Carlos Beltran gets narrowed to 5 or 6

According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports, New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is narrowing the field on possible destinations for outfielder Carlos Beltran, sources said Wednesday.

By Wednesday evening, the day after Alderson provided him with a short list of interested teams he believed could fulfill the Mets’ wishes and provide Beltran another shot at the post-season.

Beltran had not ruled out any of those clubs, believed to be the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers and, perhaps, the New York Yankees.

Brown Outlines the Possible Destinations:

Philadelphia: GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is searching for a corner outfielder, preferably right field, leaving Raul Ibanez in left and Shane Victorino in center. The Phillies have a left-leaning lineup, so are seeking balance as well as a second-half lift to an offense that’s been average so far.

Boston: The Red Sox have a slight problem in right field, where J.D. Drew is batting .223 with four homers and 22 RBIs in 77 games. As ESPN.com reported, GM Theo Epstein has grown protective of his farm system since the trade for Adrian Gonzalez, and the Red Sox also have needs in the starting rotation and bullpen. If they prioritize the pitching staff, the Red Sox could be outbid for Beltran.

Atlanta: Jason Heyward’s sophomore season has proved to be a bit of a struggle, particularly against left-handed pitching. While waiting on Chipper Jones to return from knee surgery (and Martin Prado’s subsequent return to left field), the Braves’ outfield has been manned by three of Eric Hinske, Nate McLouth, Jordan Schafer and Heyward. GM Frank Wren probably would like to add at least a right-handed-hitting platoon element for Heyward, if not a full-time outfielder.

San Francisco: GM Brian Sabean added a useful hitter in infielder Jeff Keppinger, but Keppinger won’t solve all of the Giants’ offensive issues. Sabean implied to Bay Area papers this week he will not part with upper-tier prospects such as Brandon Belt and Zack Wheeler. He still ought to be able to work a deal. The Giants rank near the bottom of the NL in runs, home runs and on-base percentage, so he almost has to if he wants to ease the torture.

Milwaukee: The Brewers made the first deadline move by acquiring reliever Francisco Rodriguez, so Doug Melvin and Alderson are already acquainted. Melvin said recently he had nothing imminent on the trade front, but has proven in the past to be an aggressive player come July. With Ryan Braun back in left, the Brewers could use Beltran in center (though Nyjer Morgan is hitting) or right (where Corey Hart has been spotty).

New York: The Yankees aren’t getting much production from their DH’s, so could engage the Mets in a rare intra-city swap. The Mets are in no position to sweat the potential public relations issues that could arise with Beltran in the Bronx, if that’s where the best trade lies.

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