Carlos Beltran, Red Sox having “serious dialogue”


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.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.