The Red Sox are zeroing in on veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran as a possible replacement for free agent Jacoby Ellsbury and they have had a "serious dialogue" with the eight-time All-Star, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
Boston got a good look at the former-Cardinals right fielder in the 2013 World Series. Beltran went 5-17 with three RBIs and 2 two walks against them in that series, despite injuring himself in Game 1 while robbing David Ortiz of a grand slam. The 36-year-old Beltran hit .296/.339/.491 in 600 plate appearances for the NL Champions last season. His once elite defense has deteriorated in the wake of a series of knee injuries, but he has managed to start 130 game in the outfield in each of the past two seasons, making a viable everyday option in right for teams seeking outfield aid.
The Red Sox had the most productive outfield in the game (by fWAR) in 2013, but they appear ready to let Ellsbury walk instead of committing anything close to the seven-years and $140 million the Scott Boras-client is reportedly seeking. With veteran center fielder Shane Victorino already on the team and playing right and top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. expected to take over center in the near future, the Red Sox have two viable options in center already. Beltran would fit the team as a regular option in right or left field for 2014. He would also likely see some time at DH over the course of any possible deal with the Red Sox, helping him stay healthy and productive and giving the Red Sox an attractive option there when resting veteran slugger David Ortiz.
At this point, there is no deal in works being reported, just these talks. With interest from teams like the Yankees, Royals, Mariners and Orioles, Beltran will most likely be engaged in many such dialogues before he finally signs.