The Mets aren't interested in trading Jose Reyes, who would have been the best player available on this July's trade market.
They will trade Carlos Beltran, the best hitter available on the market.
"He's the impact guy," said an official of one of the many teams hoping to acquire Beltran.
Beltran, who entered play Wednesday with 14 home runs and 59 RBI in 91 games, is good enough that even teams without a real need in the outfield have sent scouts to see him, just in case. The Rangers had a scout at Citi Field on Wednesday, even though their main focus this month has been on acquiring pitching.
The list of teams that could end up with Beltran remains a long one. The Phillies may be the most aggressive suitor, as Jon Heyman of SI.com has suggested, but the Red Sox, Giants and Braves are all still believed to be in the running. The Phillies and Giants both have had scouts in New York all week, and the Red Sox were in to see Beltran last weekend.
The Tigers and Pirates are also said to have shown interest, but the Tigers' focus continues to be on acquiring a starting pitcher, and it's not clear that Beltran would approve a deal to the Pirates. Beltran has a full no-trade clause in his contract, but it's believed he would agree to go to any of the other contenders.
The Mets are almost certain to deal Beltran, because he will be a free agent at the end of the season and won't be back in 2012, in any case. Also, they wouldn't get any draft picks as compensation when he signs elsewhere, because of a clause in his contract that doesn't allow him to be offered arbitration (and a high salary that probably would have kept them from offering it, anyway).
Because Beltran is the best hitter on the market, the Mets can try to hold out for a big price for Beltran, even though he's a true rental player. They have also suggested to teams that they would be willing to pay some or most of his contract, depending on the players they get in return.
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