The market for free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran is developing quickly, and it's made up entirely of American League teams. The Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox, Royals, Indians and Mariners all have early interest in signing Beltran, reports Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News.
That the interest in Beltran is currently reserved for teams that regularly employ a designated hitter shouldn't come as too much of a shock to those who have watched him in right field the last few years. The 36-year-old was an elite center fielder in his prime, but his prowess in the outfield has declined as he's aged. He's netted -9 fielding runs over the last four seasons.
While Beltran may have lost some of his defensive acumen, he's still one of the better hitters in the league. The switch-hitting slugger batted .296/.339/.491 with 24 home runs over 145 games in his second season with the Cardinals, marking the 11th time in 15 full seasons that he's finished a year with an OPS of .800 or higher.
Beltran is reportedly seeking a contract similar to the two-year, $26 million deal he inked with St. Louis after the 2011 season, but may be in for a heftier pay day given all the interest he's garnering at this point. Beltran was made a qualifying offer by the Cards, so all of the above-mentioned teams except for the Mariners would also have to surrender their top pick in the 2014 Draft to sign him.