Carlos Beltran has been this year's Cliff Lee in terms of trade speculation—his name popping up repeatedly. Almost certainly, Beltran will find a new team by the time the the non-waiver trade deadline comes to a close next Sunday.
Beltran has been enjoying an excellent year for the New York Mets, batting .289 and currently leading the league with 30 doubles.
Multiple reports from around the big leagues have linked Beltran to the Texas Rangers. According to ESPN NY's Adam Rubin, the Beltran sweepstakes is now down to five teams, with the Rangers prominently listed amongst the cadre.
Carlos Beltran would certainly be a nice addition to the Rangers outfield, which currently uses a center field platoon with Craig Gentry and Endy Chavez alternating starts. Beltran, once a speed demon, no longer possesses the speed that was his calling card early on in his career, but he can still fill in aptly at any outfield position.
For the Rangers, the question would be who to trade to the Mets. According to the report, the Mets' scouting team is currently watching the Rangers' lower level affiliates, in particular low-A Hickory, of the South Atlantic League.
One of the Rangers' top two prospects, Jurickson Profar, is the starting shortstop for Hickory. It's unlikely that Profar would be included in any trade whatsoever, much less for what amounts to a "rent-a-player." Beltran can't be offered arbitration. Thus, should a team acquire him but fail to re-sign him, that team would not get any future draft picks.
This should diminish the Mets' asking price considerably. It has also been reported that Beltran has expressed a desire to stay in the National League. An American League team would make more sense long-term for Beltran, because of the designated hitter.
Beltran lost large chunks of the 2009 and 2010 seasons due to recurring knee injuries. On an American League team he could be rested by alternating outfield starts with DH duties.
Beltran is certainly no stranger to trade speculation. In the summer of 2004 he was traded to the Houston Astros, where he helped propel them all the way to the NLCS.
Beltran does have a "no-trade" clause in his contract, and has 24 hours to approve a trade before it can be finalized. This essentially means that the deadline for any team to acquire Beltran is July 30 by midnight.
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