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.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.