With the Carlos Beltran derby heading into the final days, there were suggestions Sunday that the Phillies' interest has cooled, that the Rangers' interest has picked up and that the Giants are still heavily involved.
Meanwhile, the Mets continue to hold out hope that one team or another will agree to surrender its top prospect in return for Beltran, who is the best hitter on the free-agent market but is also strictly a rental player.
Beltran must approve any trade, and as many others have reported, his preference is to stay in the National League. But one person close to him said Sunday that it's possible that Beltran would approve a deal to the Rangers.
Texas fits some of Beltran's stated criteria, since the Rangers are likely to be in the playoffs and have a real chance of getting to the World Series. Also, the Rangers could offer Beltran regular playing time in the outfield, either by playing Beltran in center field or (more likely) by moving Josh Hamilton back to center.
Earlier this month, the Rangers seemed most focused on adding pitching, either in the rotation or the bullpen. They talked to the Rockies about Ubaldo Jimenez, and discussed relievers with the Padres.
But the Rangers sent a scout in to see Beltran at the end of the Mets' homestand last week, and by Sunday one rival official was suggesting that the Rangers could even be the favorite, because they had more prospects available and also could take on more of Beltran's salary.
The Braves, Red Sox, Pirates and even the Reds have been mentioned in connection with Beltran.
Because Beltran is easily the biggest impact hitter on the market, the Mets can justify asking for the world. What works against them actually getting it is that both the Giants and the Rangers (and the Phillies, for that matter) will very likely make the playoffs with or without a Beltran trade.
For those teams, the question is how much better Beltran would make them in October, and how much that's worth in terms of giving up top prospects.
The Mets are said by sources to have asked for pitcher Zack Wheeler from the Giants. According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, they asked for first Domonic Brown and then Jarred Cosart from the Phillies. It's no surprise that the Phils said no on both. There were also reports that the Mets had asked for Mike Minor from the Braves, and again it's no surprise that the Braves said no.