How close was Carlos Beltran to signing with the Red Sox?

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Carlos Beltran was linked to the Red Sox prior to signing with the Cardinals, but today the veteran outfielder explained to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal why he didn’t end up in Boston:

I did feel that it was going to be a good fit for me. We talked a little bit, and they had interest. They were trying to get something done first with David [Ortiz]. At the end of the day, I wasn’t going to wait until they got that done.

In terms of timelines, Beltran signed his two-year, $26 million deal with the Cardinals on December 23. Ortiz accepted the Red Sox’s arbitration tender on December 7, but didn’t sign his one-year, $14.575 million deal to avoid arbitration until February 13.

And as MacPherson writes, odds are the Red Sox wouldn’t have had room in their budget for Beltran at the money (and years) he ended up getting anyway. Instead they ended up trading for Ryan Sweeney as part of the Andrew Bailey swap and then signed Cody Ross to a one-year, $3 million contract.

All of which is why Beltran will be replacing Albert Pujols instead of J.D. Drew.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.