The Colorado Rockies added Michael Cuddyer and the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Jason Kubel to reduce the amount of teams looking for outfielders. The Twins added Josh Willingham to play the outfield with Denard Span and Ben Revere next season. The Phillies may or may not need an outfielder; they added Ty Wigginton and Dominick Brown is still on their radar. Perhaps the Red Sox will be looking for a right fielder, and we all know the Giants could use all the offensive help they can get. It seems though, the team most eager to add an outfielder next is the St. Louis Cardinals.
They have spoken to Beltran and Crisp, but may be best off with Cespedes. Cespedes is a "five tool" player and would draw some positive attention to the Cardinals fan base with the loss of Albert Pujols. His ceiling is much higher than that of Beltran and Crisp at this stage of their careers. Also, I think St. Louis can feel they will be most likely to get their moneys worth with Cespedes as opposed to signing Crisp or Beltran.
Beltran is coming off a very good season with the Mets and Giants in 2011. The major concern is his health and his knees. This has held him from getting a team to commit to him for the 3 years and $30 million (down from the 5 yrs and $75 million he was initially looking for) agent Scott Boras has been asking for. Beltran would help the middle of the Cardinals order, mixed somewhere between Matt Holiday, Lance Berkman and David Freese. A healthy Beltran would do the most to overcome the loss of Pujols stats, but once again, his knees are a huge concern.
Crisp led the AL in stolen bases with 49. He could help St. Louis by providing a solid 1-2 punch with the recently re-signed Rafael Furcal. Crisp is a very good defensive center fielder, but won't provide the same power that Beltran could provide. Crisp is also a hard-nosed player, leaving him subject to injury. His arrival could change the offensive philosophy making them a potential running team as opposed to the power team they were last year. It may work better with a fundemental manager like Mike Matheny.
Like I said, the best fit for the Cardinals is Cespedes. He could be a leadoff batter or a number 3 hitter. He upgrades the defense in center field right away. Spring training will be used to figure out with where he would bat in the order. The team could figure out if they want to use him like Beltran or Crisp. Plus hes younger and can become a central figure for the future Cardinals to build around.
The Cardinals will set the market for where the others go by simply not signing them. Beltran could go to the Phillies or Red Sox if not St. Louis. Crisp could go to the Giants or Marlins. Cespedes could end up in Miami or Texas. But it is the Cardinals who will get the next pick on which outfielder they want to sign.