The Tampa Bay Rays have been uncharacteristically "busy" so far this offseason, signing catcher Jose Molina in November and making two early trades for relievers. Now that it's past the Winter Meetings and the hot stove has cooled down to a simmer, this is the time of the year when the Rays normally do their most damage. And sure enough, the Rays have already started popping up on the rumor mill:
Beltran, 34, hit .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers last season, the first time he's played in more than 100 games since 2008. He's mulling over a variety of two and three-year offers according to Rosenthal, with the [Cardinals], Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Rays having interest in the outfielder. (MLB Trade Rumors)
At 35 years old, Beltran certainly comes with his share of risk. He's faced injury issues over the last couple of seasons, and his knees prevent him from playing defense at a high level anymore. He's still serviceable in a corner outfield spot, but the Rays would likely be interested in him primarily as a DH.
Over the last handful of seasons, Beltran's worst has still been considerably better than anything the Rays have gotten form the DH hole these past few seasons. Johnny Damon hit .261/.326/.418 last year, while Beltran still managed to his .255/.341/.427 in an injury-plagued 2010 season. When healthy, Beltran is around 40-50 percent better than a league-average hitter, so he'd be a huge improvement for the Rays.
With the Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Red Sox also interested in Beltran, though, it seems unlikely that he ends up in Tampa Bay. Beltran is looking for a multi-year offer, and the Rays will likely be hesitant to give an aging player a three-year deal or to offer as much money as the Red Sox. Only time will tell, but the odds of Beltran ending up with the Rays appear slim.