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Report: Mariners want Cruz & Beltran, not so much Ellsbury

Tampa Bay Rays v Texas Rangers

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers reacts to a strike in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during the American League Wild Card tiebreaker game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 30, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has the Mariners aiming for a couple of outfielders, but not the center fielder they’ve long been connected to.

#Mariners are ambitious: Heard they’d like to find a way to add both Nelson Cruz and Carlos Beltran. Hey, they’re trying.

— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 12, 2013

If what I’ve heard here is accurate, the #mariners reported interest in Jacoby Ellsbury has been overblown.

— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 12, 2013

Ellsbury was born in Oregon and went to school at Oregon State, so it’s long been thought he might prefer a return to the Pacific Northwest if the Red Sox don’t meet his asking price. That might not be in the cards, though. After all, Ellsbury can play defense, and the Mariners aren’t about to pay him to do that.

So, Beltran and Cruz instead? It’s highly unlikely, given that Beltran could have his pick of offers from the Cardinals, Red Sox, Yankees and Rangers. Cruz is a more realistic target, with the Rangers seemingly willing to let him go. Last season’s steroid ban has cut into his market some, but it’s not likely to stop him from getting at least a three-year deal. The Mariners could use him as a corner outfielder next season and then transition him to DH later once they again come to the realization that defense matters.