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Carlos Beltran, Ubaldo Jimenez, B.J. Upton and Rich Harden

Let's get right to it. No funny business.

(Well, if you need funny business, check this out.)

--Carlos Beltran. Continued suspicions throughout the industry that he won't approve a trade to an American League team, but the Mets nonetheless continue to engage Texas and Boston in trade discussions and scout their minor-league systems.

The Brewers are more focused on a righty hitter who can play third base (Ty Wigginton?) than on Beltran. They're not optimistic that they can find a lefty reliever, which puts them in good company.

Which leaves us, getting back to Beltran, once more with Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco. None seem enthralled enough at this point to give up serious prospects. The Phillies, in fact, seem more interested in Houston's Hunter Pence, as Ken Rosenthal reported, and they've even contemplated a deal for Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton.

Keep an eye on the Braves. They need Beltran the most, arguably, out of these three clubs. They have a deep farm system in which they could meet the "multiple second-tier prospects" threshhold we discussed yesterday; Baseball America ranked Atlanta with the third-best system in baseball earlier this year.

--The odds that Pence gets traded? One official from an NL club said "about 25 percent."

--Most people with whom I speak are in the "Rockies aren't trading Ubaldo Jimenez" camp, although there's a vocal minority that believes the opposite. The same official who handicapped Pence as 25 percent likely to get dealt opined that a Jimenez trade was "less than five percent" likely.

Another official from another NL club, also part of the "He isn't getting traded" camp, noted that Jimenez's violent mechanics could give clubs pause.  James Shields' mechanics are much cleaner, the official said, so Shields would get more than Jimenez on the trade market. Shields ain't going anywhere, however, barring, well, a Herschel Walker trade.

--Getting back to Upton, the Nationals have to be considered the leading contender to get him. Washington GM Mike Rizzo likes athletes, and the Nats won't let Upton's arbitration-induced raise for 2012 get in the way of acquiring him.

An official from an AL club said the Nationals "want a centerfielder really bad." So if not Upton, then perhaps Houston's Michael Bourn.

--The Red Sox are interested in Oakland's Rich Harden, as Peter Gammons reported a few days ago.

--Have a good night.

 

 

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