By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
PHOENIX -- An obvious need for the Red Sox at the trade deadline would be a right-handed-hitting outfielder to provide more production at the position.
J.D. Drew, nominally the regular right fielder, has given the Sox only 10 extra-base hits in the first half of the season with no evidence that his production will improve dramatically in the final 2 12 months of the season.
As such, the Sox could use an upgrade, preferably from the right side. Of the five outfielders on the roster, only Darnell McDonald is right-handed and he's had 10 hits all year.
Carlos Beltran and Michael Cuddyer -- both here as All-Star selections -- are free agents at the end of the season, currently playing for teams in danger of drifting out of contention, as such, potential targets for the Red Sox.
Beltran's Mets are 11 games behind first-place Philadelphia and 7 12 games behind wild-card leading Atlanta.
It's a given that Beltran won't return to the Mets, so it makes sense that he would be shopped by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
His first hope is to remain with the Mets.
"I like where I am," said Beltran. "We're having fun and we just hope to continue to improve."
Beltran has a no-trade agreement which allows him to block potential deals.
"Having a no-trade clause gives me a little bit of control," he said. "Now, basically, I would choose. This is my 12th year in the big leagues, and at this point, all I want is to win and be able to be in the playoffs.
"You work hard in the off-season and spring training to be in situations like those. Hopefully, as a team, we can improve and when David Wright gets back and Johan Santana gets back and when Jose Reyes gets back, we're going to be better than we are right now."
But if the Mets decided to move him if they fall further back, the Red Sox would be a destination which would appeal to him.
"That's a no-brainer,'' Beltran told reporters. "They're in first place."
Beltran is being paid 18 million in the final year of his deal with the Mets, meaning a team trading for him would, in theory, be on the hook for 6 million over the final two months.
Even for a brief rental, that's a steep price tag.
Further complicating matters is that Beltran has another clause in his contract which prohibits him from being offered salary arbitration after the season.
That means that if the Red Sox dealt for him before the end of the month, they would not have the right to offer his arbitration at the end of the year and gain a first-round compensation pick in next June's draft.
Cuddyer's case is a little more straightforward, and the Twin comes with lesser salary obligations. Cuddyer is making 10.5 million this year, which means he would have about 3.5 million remaining for the final two months.
He does not have a no-trade clause.
The Twins sit in fourth place in the A.L. Central, 6 12 games behind, and are 12 12 games back in the wild-card race, meaning Cuddyer has begun to think about the chances of being traded by the end of the month.
"I think it's a real possibility," he said, "and I think it was even more of a possibility about a month ago when we weren't playing very well. Now, we're playing well and we've got ourselves in a position where we can go on a run and we can possibly get into the playoffs.
"But if these next two weeks don't go well, who knows what's going to happen?"
Cuddyer has the additional appeal of being able to play both first base and third base in addition to the outfield.
"Right now, I'm with the Twins and we're playing well," he said. "I don't think a trade is going to come in play, but if it were, whatever team makes a trade for you, you go out there and do the best you can for them.
"I want to win with the Twins. I have no other team in the back of my head that I want I want to play for until that day comes. If it does come, I go out there and fight for that team as well."
Cuddyer is familiar with the Red Sox, if only because the Sox and Twins share Fort Myers as a spring training home and meet a half dozen times each March.
"Spending time in Fort Myers for the last decade or so with those guys," he said, "you have relationships and see them here and there. As far as good friends, David Ortiz is probably the closest to me because he was with us for a few years.
"Obviously, you want to go to a team that's in it and has a chance to win, If that were to happen, Boston is a team that is obviously 100 percent a World Series contender."