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Peralta deal keeps Cardinals from battling Yankees, Red Sox for Beltran

The signing of Jhonny Peralta by the St. Louis Cardinals probably dashed any chance that the club would retain slugging right fielder Carlos Beltran.

The Redbirds were able to hang on to all their potential trading chips including first baseman Matt Adams and top prospect Oscar Taveras by making a free agent play for Peralta to fill the hole at short stop. So Beltran can't get the thing he claims he covets the most -- guaranteed playing time with Adams, Taveras and Allen Craig already fighting over innings.

But the Cardinals might have lucked out by excusing themselves from the Beltran bidding. It seems that the nightmare scenario for small market teams is unfolding: Both the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have made signing Beltran a top priority. So the bidding for a 37-year-old player with bad knees is likely to get stupid.

The Red Sox are trying to retool on the fly in effort to defend their World Series championship. Meanwhile, the Yankees are highly motivated to knock their most bitter for off its new-found perch.

The latest rumblings from the national media indicate that New York is ready to close a deal before it turns its full attention to trying to retain its own free agent Robinson Cano. It seems that the Yankees, often tied to Beltran throughout the years as a team for which the free agent would like to play, have reportedly offered Beltran two years but the slugger is trying to hold out for three.

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