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.

Buyers and Sellers at the Trade Deadline: National League Central

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Manny Machado’s trade completed, the rest of baseball can now turn its attention to the non-blue chip players on the market.

Yesterday, in our look-ahead to the second half, we mentioned some of the top players likely to be made available. Today we look at each team to see who is buying, who is selling, what they’re seeking and what they have to offer. Note: almost every contender, always, needs relief help.

As a reminder, the non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31. Players traded after that date but before August 31 need to pass through waivers unclaimed before they can be traded. All players traded before August 31 are eligible to be on their new team’s playoff roster should they make the postseason.

Next up, the National League Central:

Cubs
Status: Buyers
Wanted: They could use a lot of pitching. They could get in-house help in this regard with Yu Darvish coming back, but they have no idea what they’ll get from him at this point. You have to assume they’ll be in the conversation for any starter out there.

Brewers
Status: Buyers. They were another of the finalists on Manny Machado.
Wanted: One of the few teams who does not need bullpen help, the Brewers could really use a bat, either at short or in the outfield.

Cardinals
Staus: I have no idea
Huh?  I mean, they just fired their manager which suggests the season is kind of a loss, but they’re only four games out in the Wild Card race which suggests that, no it is not. On one, vague level they’re like the Rays, who will likely seek good deals regardless of whether they are short term or long term. On another level they’re the Cardinals, and the Cardinals are almost always in win-now mode. If a pitcher can be had, figure they’ll try to grab one.

Pirates
Status: Sellers. They finished hot in the first half and are only 5.5. back in the Wild Card, but this front office does not strike me as one that’s gonna go for broke here.
For Sale: Assuming they fall out of contention, they’ll likely accept offers for any number of veterans, including Jordy MercerDavid FreeseCorey Dickerson and Ivan Nova.

Reds
Status: Sellers, because that awful start kind of buried them, though can we tip our cap to them for the run they’ve been on of late? *tip*
For Sale: They’ve done a pretty good job of making Matt Harvey look respectable, so flipping him seems to make sense. Any number of relievers would make sense. Billy Hamilton seems like a good change-of-scenery candidate who could be a lethal weapon for a playoff contender if judiciously deployed.