Beltran, Pence, Quentin, more. . .

Right fielder Carlos Quentin is hitting .275 with six home runs in 80 at-bats against left-handed pitchers. (Ed Zurga/AP Photo)

Lots of stuff to get to, and I only have 10 minutes before I'm scheduled to go on Daily News Live. Carlos Beltran just spoke to the media and confirmed what had become apparent over the last couple of days: the Phillies were well removed from the Beltran bidding by the time everything was settled.

"They never approached me about Philadelphia," said Beltran, who had the right to veto any deal. "The only team they approached me about was the Giants, and of course I said yes."

The Phillies were hesitant to part with the elite prospect that the Mets sought. The Giants ended up sending highly-regarded pitcher Zack Wheeler (No. 35 in Baseball America's latest rankings) for Beltran and $4 million.

The Phillies have been furiously trying to obtain a hitter to help the middle of their order, particularly one that can hit left-handed pitching. Their preference is a player who they can retain beyond this season, since Raul Ibanez will be a free agent and Shane Victorino will be the only outfielder under contract. But the price tags have been astronomical on those hitters. A recent entry into the fray is White Sox right fielder Carlos Quentin, who is making $5 million this season and is signed through 2012. But there are indications that the White Sox are insisting that right fielder Domonic Brown be a part of any package for Quentin. The Phillies, obviously, are reluctant to part with their prized rookie right fielder, despite his slow offensive and defensive start this season. Quentin is a bona fide middle of the order hitter who finished fifth in MVP voting a few years ago and could see a similar finish this season. But he has a history of injuries and is not regarded as a strong defender. The Phillies are concerned about their defense in right field, where Brown is still experiencing some growing pains. The last thing they want is shaky defense to spoil the all-star pitching staff they assembled.

That said, Quentin and the Astros Hunter Pence are the only two obvious everyday upgrades on the market, and multiple reports suggest the Astros are looking for a king's ransom for the right fielder.

Whether the Phillies add Pence or Quentin could come down to whether they decide at the last minute to part with Brown.

Otherwise, they could look for a package deal from the Padres, who have a set-up man in Mike Adams who they love. They also have a right-handed hitting outfielder in Ryan Ludwick.

Gotta run.

More to come



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