Boston Red Sox Trade Rumors: Carlos Beltran; Smoke but No Fire

Aashish SharmaCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 19:  Carlos Beltran #15 and Justin Turner #2 of the New York Mets celebrate after scoring in the sixth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field on July 19, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  Teammate Daniel Murphy (not pictured) hit a two run double.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

During the last few weeks the Boston sports stratosphere has been buzzing with trade rumors, and one name that keeps resurfacing is Carlos Beltran. The Mets outfielder is in the last year of a seven-year $119 million deal he signed with New York in 2005. Although many writers speculated a deal was in the works for Carlos Beltran, GM Theo Epstein downplayed Boston’s interest. “There are more trades made on talk shows and in columns than there are in reality at the deadline” said Epstein, “That's the nature of it. We'll pursue a lot of opportunities. Maybe something happens, and maybe something doesn't”.  

It’s no secret the Red Sox are getting limited production (except from Reddick) from right field:

JD Drew: .223, 4 HR, 22 RBI, .630 OPS, .1 WAR 

Darnell McDonald: .160, 3 HR, 13 RBI, .561 OPS, .2 WAR

Josh Reddick: .370 (80 AB), 4 HR, 18 RBI, 1.089 OPS, 1.6 WAR 

*Carlos Beltran*: .293, 14 HR, 59 RBI, .912 OPS, 3.8 WAR

Red Sox fans’ eyes may light up at the prospect of trading for a bat like Beltran, but there are a few things to consider.

First of all, Beltran will not be cheap. In order to acquire him the Red Sox will have to be willing to part ways with top prospects, including the ever so hot Josh Reddick, as well as Ryan Kalish and possibly Jose Iglesias. Reddick is currently swinging the bat as well as any player in baseball, and he is just 24 years old. With JD Drew coming off the books at the end of this season, Reddick could be in line to compete for the starting job in right field next Spring Training.

While Beltran would be a great addition to a lefty-heavy lineup, there is no guarantee he will sign an extension if he lands in Boston. Ultimately that would mean the Red Sox would give up prospects to acquire him for less than half a season. And even if Beltran is signed to an extension, let’s say a four-year deal, it would take him up to the age of 38.     

Ultimately I think Epstein will stick with what he’s got in right field. Despite JD Drew’s struggles, Josh Reddick is producing at an incredible rate. Also Darnell McDonald has shown signs of breaking out of his season-long slump as of late. Considering the fact that next year’s market for free agent outfielders is nothing fancy, it would be in the best interests of the Red Sox to retain Reddick as insurance, with Ryan Kalish also waiting in the wings.

As of right now the Red Sox have the top offense in the American League, so the old adage of “if it ain't broke, don’t fix it” applies here. As painful as it may be to watch JD Drew in right field, the silver lining is Josh Reddick’s hot streak. Carlos Beltran is a sexy name, but considering his age and the fact that he will hit the open market after the 2011 season, Boston may be a little hesitant to bring him aboard.

The Red Sox will not use their top prospects as trade bait for Beltran unless they are confident he will sign an extension to stay with the club. In any case the trade deadline is just days away (11 to be exact) and it will be interesting to see if Theo pulls the trigger on a deal that could potentially change the complexion of this team.    

MLB trade info:

A native of Wellesley, Mass., Aashish is a lifelong fan of the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics. He graduated Wellesley High School in 2008, and is currently a senior at the University at Buffalo in Amherst, N.Y. You can follow him on Twitter  @aashish1989.