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Red Sox, Yankees likely to push Beltran out of Cardinals price range

It appears that the chances of the Cardinals re-signing Carlos Beltran may be dwindling.

St. Louis General Manager John Mozeliak seems reluctant to join a bidding war to keep the productive veteran fly chaser. And a bidding war seems to be shaping up as several American League clubs have reportedly been in contact with Beltran's people.

I mentioned earlier this week that the Red Sox might be a fit with centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury -- a 31-year-old player with ax extensive injury history -- allegedly demanding a $150-million contract.

The BoSox seem content to let Ellsbury walk, move Shane Victorino from right field back to center and install Beltran in one of the outfield corners. He won't find much time as a designated hitter in Boston in the short term with David Ortiz filling that roster spot. 

The New York Post reports not only are the Red Sox in hot pursuit. But American League East Rivals the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles are after Beltran, too.

I could see the Cardinals giving Beltran a two-year deal. But not much beyond that. And with the Yankees and Red Sox squaring off, you can bet the bidding on Beltran, who will be 37 next year, is going to get stupid.

The only real hope St. Louis has is that Beltran just loved playing there so much that he passes on bigger deals. It happened the last time he was a free agent when he turned down three years from Cleveland for two at Busch Stadium. And the fact that the Cardinals took him to the World Series in 2013 can't hurt. But, while the Orioles and Yankees can't boast a recent history of playoff success, the Red Sox can.

Beltran would have a surer chance of extensive playing time with Boston. In St. Louis the Cardinals have prospect Oscar Taveras emerging on the MLB scene and Matt Adams at first base to push righty slugger Allen Craig to Beltran's spot in right field. If it was a few years ago Beltran would be a great option to move to centerfield. But, if it were a few years ago when Beltran's wheels were in better shape, the Cardinals probably wouldn't be interested in paying him the kind of cash Ellsbury wants now.