Carlos Beltran, Red Sox having “serious dialogue”

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The market for free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran seems to be picking up quite a bit of recent steam.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported this afternoon that the Orioles, Yankees and Red Sox have expressed serious interest in signing Beltran and now Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweets that the Red Sox front office has already engaged in “serious dialogue” with the 36-year-old and his agent.

Beltran received a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals this month and declined it, so signing him requires the forfeiture of a top draft pick. But what he is capable of providing offensively can outweigh that hitch.

Beltran batted .282/.343/.493 with 56 home runs, 56 doubles, 162 runs scored and 181 RBI in his two seasons with St. Louis and he’s a .333/.445/.683 career hitter in 51 total postseason games.

The Red Sox could use him as a regular left fielder and part-time designated hitter in 2014.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.