Red Sox have 'strong interest' in Carlos Beltran

Rob Carr

Beltran is drawing interest from a number of teams, including the 2013 World Series champions.

The Boston Red Sox have a "strong interest" and are making an "aggressive push" for free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, reports George A. King III of the New York Post.

Beltran is drawing interest from a number of teams, including the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees. The St. Louis Cardinals extended Beltran a qualifying offer, and have already made another contract offer to the veteran, according to Jim Bowden of Sirius XM.

The 36-year-old is coming off a strong campaign in St. Louis, batting .296/.339/.491 over 600 plate appearances. Beltran has a reputation for being injury-prone, but has appeared in at least 140 games each of the past three seasons while playing exclusively in the NL. An AL team is seen as a better fit for Beltran moving forward, giving him a chance to spend time at DH.

Boston does not have an obvious spot for Beltran next season. The Red Sox may lose Jacoby Ellsbury during free agency, but have some flexibility to replace him. Jackie Bradley Jr. will likely earn a shot to start in center if Ellsbury leaves, while Shane Victorino could also shift to center field, according to Ricky Doyle of NESN. Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes give Boston a strong platoon in left field, while David Ortiz serves as Boston's full-time DH.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, however, indicated that the team is still searching for more depth next season; he believes that club's depth in 2013 helped them win the World Series, telling Doyle:

"Just because we have a young player who we really believe in, doesn't mean we wouldn't be interested in adding to a particular area. Again, I think one of the hallmarks of this team in 2013 was that we had a deep roster. It helped us get through certain parts of the season. So we want to do whatever we can to continue that next season. We don't know yet what opportunities are going to be out there for us, but we want to be as strong 1 through 25, 1 through 40 as we possibly can."

Beltran has mostly played right field over the past three years, but did start seven games in center for the Cardinals in 2012.

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