Report: Rangers “very much in play” for Carlos Beltran

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It appears the Giants, Braves and Phillies have some company.

Adam Rubin of ESPN.com reports that the Rangers remain “very much in play” in the pursuit of Carlos Beltran. The first-place Rangers have reportedly zeroed in on Beltran and Padres’ closer Heath Bell as their primary trade targets before the deadline.

While the Rangers have a scout in Miami watching Beltran, a source tells Rubin that the Mets have ramped up watching Rangers’ minor leaguers. In fact, Mets scout Bryan Lambe is watching the Rangers’ Class A Hickory club after being redirected.

Some prominent members of the Hickory roster include shortstop Jurickson Profar, outfielder Jake Skole, third baseman Christian Villanueva and right-hander Roman Mendez. Profar was recently ranked as the game’s No. 12 prospect on Baseball America’s midseason list and is highly unlikely to be included in a potential deal for Beltran.

Yasmani Grandal played himself out of NLCS Game 4

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Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.

Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.

Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.

Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.