- Dan Szymborski, ESPN Insider
Now less than two weeks from baseball's July 31 trade deadline, the biggest prize for contenders to fight over is New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. Teammate Jose Reyes may be having the better season, but with Mets GM Sandy Alderson declaring a Reyes trade unlikely and agreeing to pick up Beltran's remaining salary in any trade, there's little doubt as to which Mets star is available.
Although any team would improve with the addition of Beltran, each team's situation is different, and with the price likely to be high because of the multiple contenders for his services, adding Beltran may not be practical for even some of the better teams in baseball. Complicating matters is Beltran's full no-trade clause, which gives him an opportunity to help determine where, or if, he goes. So, which teams should pursue Beltran and which should stay away?
The Rangers have expressed interest in Beltran and, in my opinion, this is the most likely destination for him, as the Rangers have both the prospects and the need. With David Murphy having his worst season as a professional, the Rangers have had to shuffle Murphy, Craig Gentry and Endy Chavez while playing Josh Hamilton in both left and center. Hamilton's not really a good defensive center fielder, but he's adequate enough to play there regularly for a few months if the Rangers can add a bat like Beltran's.