|Source: Carlos Beltran has not waived no-trade clause||07.20.11 at 11:36 am ET|
BALTIMORE — According to a major league source, contrary to a report earlier Wednesday, Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran has not agreed officially to waive his no-trade clause to the Red Sox or any other team because he has not yet been traded. He did express an interest in going to the Sox at the All-Star game, suggesting that it would be “a no-brainer” for him to accept a trade to Boston given the team’s place in the standings, but that has not been codified.
And while the Red Sox have certainly been kicking the tires in the Beltran derby, their conversations with the Mets about the All-Star have not advanced beyond preliminary discussions that would place them “in the mix.” According to a major league source, the Mets have received interest from 8-10 teams on the outfielder, with the Sox being characterized as one of the six most interested teams. For their part, the Sox haven’t zeroed in on Beltran or any other single player, as they continue to engage in a broad examination of the market at a time when they are determining the degree to which internal upgrades will address areas of need.
The price for the 34-year-old — who is enjoying a tremendous year, hitting .293 with a .389 OBP, .523 slugging mark and .911 OPS, along with 14 homers and an NL-leading 30 doubles — will be high in terms of prospects. The Mets, who had budgeted for all of Beltran’s salary, and have already received some payroll relief thanks to the trade of Francisco Rodriguez, are less concerned about how much of Beltran’s contract they will assume than they are about the caliber of prospects they would receive in return. (That said, some teams have shown a willingness to assume some of the remainder of Beltran’s $18.5 million salary while also offering the Mets prospects.)
The Mets are aiming high in terms of the prospects whom they would want back in dealing for the outfielder, given that he has emerged as the best bat in a weak market for hitters this summer (particularly given that the Mets are viewed, according to sources, as unlikely to trade Jose Reyes).
With the Sox having parted with three of their best prospects in the deal for Adrian Gonzalez, the Mets would be seeking to draw further from the top of the Sox’ farm system, looking at players with a chance to be impact regulars. From the Sox system, that would mean using a player like third baseman Will Middlebrooks — viewed as an above-average offensive and defensive third baseman who projects as a big league regular — as the type of player who might be considered. (Mets special assistant to the GM J.P. Ricciardi was reportedly in Portland the last two nights, at a time when the Mets’ Double-A affiliate was playing the Sox’ Double-A Sea Dogs team.)
In short, the Mets are in a position to shoot high on a player who will be strictly a rental. And while it would be a mistake to rule out the Sox in any conversations about elite players who might move before the trade deadline, the team will remain mindful of not just its 2011 potential but also future seasons.
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