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Red Sox held the line on potential Carlos Beltran deal

07.27.11 at 3:43 pm ET
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According to sources familiar with the talks, the Red Sox were engaged with the Mets regarding the potential acquisition of outfielder Carlos Beltran, to the point where Boston made what was characterized as a “solid offer” to the Mets for the All-Star right fielder. However, the Red Sox held the line on certain prospects in talks with New York, and regardless, the Mets liked Giants prospect Zach Wheeler — a 21-year-old right-hander who was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2009 draft — more than they did the prospects whom they discussed with Boston.

Of course, the Giants were also more motivated than the Sox to deal for the 34-year-old, who is hitting .289 with a .391 OBP, .513 slugging mark, .904 OPS, 15 homers and an NL-leading 66 RBI. The Giants entered today having scored 3.60 runs per game, a mark that ranks 28th among the 30 major league teams (and 15th among 16 NL squads). The Sox, meanwhile, have far and away the best offense in the majors, having scored 5.50 runs per game.

That fact, along with the recent emergence of 24-year-old Josh Reddick (hitting .362/.403/.619/1.022 in 119 plate appearances), left the Sox in a position of relative comfort with regards to the outfield market. Even as some Sox officials acknowledged that Reddick doesn’t have the proven track record of a Beltran, and that some return to earth is likely, his performance made it difficult for the team to justify giving up a significant prospect haul in exchange for a two-month rental of Beltran, who will be a free agent after the season and who cannot be offered salary arbitration, meaning that he could not be used to acquire draft picks.

In the Sox clubhouse, there was likewise a level of comfort that the Sox didn’t need to acquire Beltran (widely viewed as the best bat on the market) given the performance of Reddick.

“That kid right there, I would throw up against anybody,” Ortiz said of Reddick in an interview with WEEI.com on Tuesday. “What he’s doing right now for us is big-time.

“When I watch him play he just looks like one of those old-school guys who plays the game hard. It doesn’t matter who’s pitching, he’s going to give you 120 percent when he’s playing. That kid right there, that’s how he is. His confidence is unbelievable, he’s hungry and he wants to play. I’ll take my chances with him.”

The Sox also looked into the availability of outfielder Colby Rasmus, but felt that the 24-year-old was someone who would make more sense for them as a potential offseason acquisition from St. Louis. They didn’t have the pieces to match up with the Cardinals, since St. Louis required starting pitching and relief help for the center fielder, who is hitting .246 with a .332 OBP, .420 slugging mark and .752 OPS and 11 homers for the Cardinals. Instead, it was the Blue Jays who were able to acquire Rasmus (a 2005 first-rounder) as part of a three-team, eight-player deal that resulted in starter Edwin Jackson and relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel going to St. Louis.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, carlos beltran, josh reddick, New York Mets
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