Cardinals maintaining strong interest in Carlos Beltran

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From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes this:

The Cardinals did extensive background work on free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran last week and maintain strong interest in him, according to major league sources.

Rosenthal goes on to say that other teams “remain in the mix” and that Beltran is considering “two- and even three-year” offers, but the Cardinals may have become the front-runner with the Rockies’ recent acquisition of Michael Cuddyer and the Blue Jays’ heavy involvement in the Yu Darvish bidding.

Beltran batted .300/.385/.525 with 22 home runs, 39 doubles and 84 RBI in 598 plate appearances for the Mets and Giants in 2011. The 34-year-old would likely to be asked to play right field in St. Louis until Allen Craig heals from his knee surgery, then he could be shifted to center in place of Jon Jay.