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Carlos Beltran free agency: Beltran has 3-year, $48 million offer from mystery team

It's probably the Mariners, though.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran has about 48 million things to think about right now, as a mystery team has reportedly offered him a three-year, $48 million contract according to ESPN's Buster Olney. While Olney says he's unclear if it's from the Mariners, who have been "aggressive" about Beltran, let's be real: it's probably from the Mariners.

How do we know? Carlos Beltran wanted two things this offseason: to be paid well for more than two years, and to be on a team with legitimate playoff aspirations. As 2013 represented Beltran's first World Series appearance ever, the latter is understandable, but the former has more to do with the fact that, despite his age, he's proven himself healthy and well removed from the knee issues that plagued some of his tenure with the Mets. He's not the defender he once was, but he still managed to crush the ball in a park built for pitchers, and if he signs with an American League team he can probably keep at that for a while longer, given the persistent option of a day at designated hitter.

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The Mariners can certainly afford to pay Beltran, even if the Wii U isn't quite taking off like Nintendo hoped, but the chances of them making the playoffs are still low. Seattle could sneak into October play through the wild card, sure -- the Athletics and Rangers aren't going to be easy to leapfrog with their combination of present and future talent -- but that scene is crowded, too, as the Royals can attest. It's not a sure thing -- or at least what passes for one in baseball -- like signing with the Cardinals two years ago was, so despite the zeroes on that potential paycheck, the location could be giving Beltran pause.

Now, it could still be someone else in a similar boat, contention-wise. It's probably not the Royals, if only because, despite their love of the idea of a Beltran reunion, they are unlikely to have $16 million per season just lying around all of a sudden, unless Wal-Mart decided to host a canned food drive to help pay for a new outfielder, too. The Indians spent much of their money on long-term deals last winter, and are busy searching for starting pitching to replace what they've lost this winter. The Red Sox are leery of giving Mike Napoli too lengthy of a deal at his age with his medical history, so the chances of them going three years for the even older and potentially creakier Beltran are slim.

So, yeah. It's probably the Mariners. They're likely going to need to overpay somewhat in years or dollars to attract someone like Beltran to town, but hey, better Beltran than, say, Nelson Cruz, right?

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