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Carlos Beltran appears to be leaning toward the Red Sox

It appears that the Boston Red Sox have emerged as front runners for the services of free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran.

According to an NBC report, the BoSox are engaged with the switch-hitting slugger in a "serious dialogue."

There has been a lot of speculation that the 37-year-old veteran would like to make a switch to the American League where he could serve as a designated hitter. And that option doesn't appear to be in the immediate future in Boston where David Ortiz is firmly established as DH.

But Boston might make a soft landing spot for Beltran's balky knees because of the Green Monster. If Beltran switched from right field to left, he'd cover the smallest patch of corner outfield in the major leagues. And his smart play would allow him to make the most out of his experience while minimizing his loss of speed.

As much as I would like to see Beltran back in St. Louis -- especially because his bat will be very tough to replace in the batting order -- his demand for a multi-year contract seems to make Beltran impossible to fit into the Birds' plans.

In an already crowded rotation between first base and right field the Cardinals expect to add top prospect Oscar Taveras to the mix this season and converted outfielder Stephen Piscotty sometime in the 2014 or 2015 seasons. If no trades are made between now and the start of next season, presumably Allen Craig would play right field and Matt Adams would handle the duties at first.