Royals showing serious interest in Carlos Beltran

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The Royals are a “serious threat” to sign free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The 36-year-old has proven himself as a reliable player over the last three seasons, playing in at least 142 games each season while compiling an .860 OPS. He helped his value with a strong post-season performance as well, posting an .852 OPS in 68 trips to the plate in the NLDS against the Pirates, in the NLCS against the Dodgers, and in the World Series against the Red Sox.

Heyman notes that the Rangers and Mariners are in the mix for Beltran’s services, as are the Yankees and Red Sox. Also of note is that if Beltran were to sign a multi-year deal and play well throughout the duration, he could solidify his Hall of Fame case, which would benefit the Royals. He played seven seasons each with the Royals and the Mets, but logged slightly more playing time with the Mets. Going back to Kansas City would make it likely that Beltran would be enshrined wearing a Royals cap.

As for Beltran’s contract, Heyman’s source says that the outfielder has requested a four-year deal, but would likely settle for a three-year deal with the right conditions. Beltran will turn 37 years old on April 24, so a three-year deal would end just before he reaches 40.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.