Red Sox showing “strong interest” in Carlos Beltran

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Carlos Beltran has a qualifying offer on the table from the Cardinals, but he’s expected to decline the one-year, $14.1 million deal even if he wants to remain in St. Louis and now George King of the New York Post reports that the Red Sox are showing “strong interest” in the 36-year-old outfielder.

According to King–who, for whatever it’s worth, cites “a person who knows Beltran” as his source–the Red Sox could essentially try to replace Jacoby Ellsbury with Beltran, either by shifting Shane Victorino to center field or using Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.

King also writes that the Yankees and Orioles are interested in Beltran, who hit .296 with 24 homers and an .830 OPS in 145 games for the Cardinals and posted very similar overall numbers for St. Louis in 2012 as well. Two years ago Beltran got a two-year, $26 million deal as a free agent and it sounds like he’ll do better at 36 than he did at 34.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.