MLB Trade Rumors: Phillies Targeting Cheaper, Younger Version of Carlos Beltran

Depending on who you ask, the Philadelphia Phillies are the frontrunners to land Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran at the trade deadline. After all, they need him, they can afford him, and they have the prospects required to go get him.

Maybe so, but it sounds like the Phillies would be perfectly content to settle for some other switch-hitting outfielder.

According to a report from FOX Sports' Jon Morosi, the Phillies have talked to the Kansas City Royals about center fielder Melky Cabrera. A deal is not close to being struck, but indications are that the talks are pretty serious, as the two clubs have exchanged names for a possible deal.

It's an intriguing turn of events. Cabrera is not quite the hitter Beltran is, but he's not exactly useless in the batter's box either. His .296 average, 12 homers and 54 RBI stack up pretty nicely to Beltran's line of .293/14/59.

Better yet, Cabrera is a much better outfielder than Beltran right now. Cabrera is a true center fielder with plenty of range and a great arm, things that Beltran can no longer boast about at this point in his career.

It gets better. While the Mets have said they are willing to pick up the $6 million Beltran will be owed after the trade deadline, it has also been rumored that they would ask a team like the Phillies to pick up at least part of the tab. It would thus take both cash and top prospects to land Beltran, who is a free agent at the end of the season.

Cabrera, on the other hand, is only making $1.25 million this year, and is under club control for next year as well.

Add it all up, and it's pretty easy to see why the Phillies would at least kick the tires on Cabrera. In many ways, he's just as good as Beltran, and he's both younger and cheaper.

What's not to like?

-Zachary D. Rymer

TAGS: , , MLB Trade Rumors