Let the bidding begin: Mets taking calls on Carlos Beltran

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According to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, the Mets “are beginning to accept calls” on outfielder Carlos Beltran and have already received interest.

Beltran has been able to avoid injuries this season and is again producing at a high level offensively, sporting a .285/.373/.506 batting line with 13 home runs and 57 RBI in 85 games for the Mets.

The 34-year-old has lost a step or two defensively, but he might be able to man center field again in the right situation. At least, that’s how the Mets are going to market him this month to potential suitors.

Beltran is playing out the final chapter of a massive seven-year, $119 million contract that he signed with New York in January 2005. The Mets are likely seeking a trade partner who will be open to assuming whatever remains from the $18.5 million in salary that he’s owed this season.

With so many teams in contention here in early July and a league-wide craving for quality offensive production, Beltran’s suitors will be plentiful. Along with dumping salary, the Mets should be able to net some young talent.

Beltran has a full no-trade clause, so he’ll have a bit of say in his eventual landing spot.

Max Scherzer reaches 300 strikeouts on the season

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Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the season on Tuesday night against the Marlins. Austin Dean was the victim, swinging and missing at a 3-2 curve for the second out in the seventh inning.

Scherzer’s 2018 is the seventh 300-strikeout season since 2000. The others: Chris Sale (308; 2017 Red Sox), Clayton Kershaw (301; 2015 Dodgers), Randy Johnson (334; 2002 Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (316; 2002 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (372; 2001 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (347; 2000 Diamondbacks). It’s the 67th 300-strikeout season dating back to 1883.

At the conclusion of the seventh, Scherzer had held the Marlins to a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He entered the start 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA across 213 2/3 innings. Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win the NL Cy Young Award, but Scherzer’s 2018 has been outstanding.