Free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran's market continues to grow, with the Boston Red Sox having emerged as a potential suitor, according to The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo and George A. King III of the New York Post. King also writes that the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees have shown interest in signing the 36-year-old 8-time All-Star, and Cafardo adds that the Philadelphia Phillies have also inquired.
The recently crowned world champion Red Sox have a hole to fill in their outfield, with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury likely to sign elsewhere this winter.
The Sox could move athletic youngster Jackie Bradley Jr. to center, allowing the aging Beltran and Shane Victorino to man the corners.
One possible hurdle in a Beltran/Red Sox deal could be that with Beltran turning 37 next spring, his rapidly deteriorating defensive skills will likely require a move to DH, a position which is already filled in Boston by David Ortiz.
The Yankees will know by Monday if they will need to replace Curtis Granderson in their outfield. With Brett Gardner, Alfonso Soriano, and Ichiro Suzuki already in tow for 2014, Beltran could benefit from the Yankees' lack of a clear DH option. As aging stars, Soriano and Suzuki are in the same situation as Beltran, allowing the trio to potentially rotate between the two corner outfield spots and designated hitter.
Baltimore already has a solid starting outfield in Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Nate McLouth, however, they too lack a suitable DH option with Danny Valencia their current projected starter for 2014. If they were to sign him, the Orioles could choose to put Beltran in a strictly DH role or have him alternate between left field and DH with Nate McLouth.
Philadelphia's interest is rather intriguing as the team struggled in 2013, finishing with 89 losses, and 2014's prospects don't look much brighter. With multiple glaring holes to fill, signing Beltran would make little sense to the Phillies. However, anything is possible for the team that gave Ryan Howard a prematurely enormous contract extension and thinks trading for David Price is a good move despite a much-needed rebuild.
Beltran, who is expected to turn down St. Louis' $14.1 million qualifying offer Monday, will come attached with draft pick compensation, meaning any team that signs him will have to give up their first round pick in next year's amateur draft.
Beltran hit a combined .282/.343/.493 with 56 home runs, a 128 OPS+, and a 6.3 WAR in the last two years, both of which were spent in St. Louis. Although he is superb in the regular season, Beltran has shown a knack for flourishing in the playoffs. A career .333/.445/.683 postseason hitter, Beltran was instrumental in leading the Cardinals to a World Series berth last month.