Let's Make a Deal: Carlos Beltran Edition

Sizing up the market for a Beltran trade

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Which team will be the next to put a smile on Beltran's face?

    Carlos Beltran is currently the starting right fielder for the Mets.

    Under the right circumstances, he will remain in that position for the rest of the season. Under more likely circumstances, the Mets will be hard pressed to trade him now and recover something for him before he leaves as a free agent.

    Since any trade involving Beltran will likely take place as close as possible to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, now is a good time to suss out the market. Plenty of teams could use a bat like Beltran's, but his status as a player with 10 years in the majors and five years with the Mets means he can block any deal to a destination that isn't to his liking.

    Based on Beltran's comments before the All-Star game, that eliminates any team currently out of contention for a playoff spot. So we can erase the Orioles, Blue Jays, Royals, A's, Nationals, Marlins, Cubs, Astros, Dodgers and Padres. 

    We'll also eliminate teams that don't seem like they'd make a deal for him because he doesn't fill a pressing need. The Red Sox, Yankees, Twins, Rockies, Reds, Cardinals, Brewers and Diamondbacks go onto the no list as a result. 

    Finally, we'll drop the Braves and Phillies as realistic locations. Both could use Beltran, but it is hard to see the Mets making a deal to help their rivals get to October.

    That leaves nine teams as possibilities for Beltran's services, which we'll rank from least to most likely.

    Indians: Shin-Soo Choo is out with an injury and the Indians look like a team that's about to fall out of the race unless they get some help so they make some sense. They weren't supposed to be in contention this soon, however, and may not want to sacrifice future pieces on an unlikely run.

    Pirates: They are the NL version of the Indians, although it would do a lot more for them to show their fans that they can capitalize on a rare winning season. They have pieces on the farm and could use Beltran, but would he okay a trade to a team that's overachieved thus far?

    Mariners: They are 7.5 games out of first so they barely qualify as contenders, but they've got a surplus of pitching to go with an abysmal offense. Hard to see Beltran saying yes without a major surge to open the second half.

    Rays: Tampa could use a bat and they have a deep system to use in a trade, but this seems like an unlikely locale. Beltran still has a healthy amount of money coming his way and unless the Rays make a serious move in the next two weeks they aren't close enough to justify adding salary.

    White Sox: Never count out Ken Williams come the trade deadline. They don't have a great system, though, and the Mets might not find anything to their liking.

    Angels: Owner Arte Moreno intimated that he was done adding salary, but the Angels might be close enough to a playoff spot to make him change his mind. Finding a spot for him in the lineup would be a little difficult, but they do have a deep minor league system to entice the Mets.

    Rangers: A really good match thanks to their deep supply of pitching prospects, but it is less clear how they would fit him into their lineup without moving Josh Hamilton back to center field. They showed last year that they will make a big deal, however, and Beltran qualifies.

    Tigers: The Tigers lineup currently features five players having strong years and four players who are struggling mightily, which means Beltran would be a welcome addition. The organizational depth isn't great, but they have some decent pitching prospects and could overpay to secure their grasp on a weak division.

    Giants: Closer Brian Wilson has made his feelings clear, they desperately need a big bat to provide a great pitching staff with runs and word out of San Francisco is that they have the payroll flexibility to make a move. Add in a system stocked with good pitching (even if there's no way Madison Bumgarner or Zack Wheeler will be involved) and you've got the likeliest Beltran landing spot at this hour.