Adrian Beltre’s Possible Suitors

Tidbits started floating around yesterday that to some extent the Angels were out of the running for Adrian Beltre. Those rumors coalesced as the day wore on and the story appears to be that Boras and Beltre have rejected the Angels latest offer and that negotiations are at a standstill currently, but not off entirely.

This was a bit of a surprise since as the free agent market has settled it appeared an almost lock that Beltre would end up in Anaheim. They are one of the few remaining teams with adequate payroll room and they have a definite need at third base where Maicer Izturis is better suited as an all around backup infielder. The Angels also lack a top tier 3B in their near term minor league pipeline and a rough guess of their projected win totals have Anaheim sitting a few wins behind the Texas Rangers. In short, they have more means, more motive and more opportunity than any other team.

But if not Anaheim then who else? I looked at each team’s current depth chart, payroll room and upper level minor leagues to suss out any other fits for Beltre. At best, there’s a couple partial fits. Houston and Cleveland both have payroll room and third base is only slightly filled with a young talent, but both teams are in rebuild mode and seem highly unlikely to enter a top tier free agent sweepstakes. The Twins could be a fit if they give up on Danny Valencia and upped payroll. Moreover, the Yankees could always do something insane like move Alex Rodriguez to DH and slide Beltre in at third base after missing so many other top players this winter.

Those teams barely qualify as fits, but there are more plausible options. The Athletics were rumored to be in on Beltre before though it’s not exactly clear why as they have Kevin Kouzmanoff at third base currently and they’ll need the payroll room in the near future with their young talent getting more expensive. Also in the west, the Rangers have also mostly whiffed this winter and though Michael Young sits at third, the DH slot is there and Young is certainly not a premier defender. The Rangers are nearly as in need of Beltre as the Angels are –and that creates the added incentive for both teams of acquiring Beltre to keep him away from the other—but Michael Young could be an obstacle.

In the National League, the best fit comes from the St. Louis Cardinals. They have a need at third base and nobody close to the Majors set to fill it for the long haul. They also have just watched Milwaukee nab Zack Greinke and lost the division to the Reds in 2010. The hindrance for them is cash. Albert Pujols needs to be re-signed soon and they’re already up against their 2010 payroll.

The Angels have to be the overwhelming favorite to end up with Adrian Beltre, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Oakland, Texas or St. Louis make a genuine effort.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

63 Responses to “Adrian Beltre’s Possible Suitors”

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  1. Chris says:

    It is unlikely, but not totally impossible that the O’s could get involved if the price (and more importantly the years) come down.

    Idea being they would move Reynolds across the diamond to 1st.

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  2. Bushrod Park says:

    Oakland offers $64/5years. Anaheim offers $70/5years. Then Beltre decides he would rather play in Baltimore for $48/4years. Is this what you are saying? Really?

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    • SeanP says:

      Did anyone actually say that? I don’t think anyone made that kind of comment…

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      • GTStD says:

        “if the price (and more importantly the years) come down. ”

        Saying that another team might be interested if the years or money come down is pretty much useless with a Boras client, as he’s more likely to sign with some team that can’t afford him and for a contract well into his declining years.

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  3. Theo says:

    Doesn’t St. Louis have Freese at third? I know he was injured last year, but won’t he still be relevant next year?

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    • DWrek says:

      I think the only way Beltre works in STL is if they are planning on showing Pujols the door when his contract is up.

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      • Kevin L. Wiley says:

        I think the Cardinals like Freese especially having him under club control. Also not signing Pujols is laughable, and having your other corner under club control for awhile makes that more financially feasible. Signing Beltre would cost too much money for a # of years, it’s not gonna happen.

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    • AK707 says:

      Its unusual that here in SF we aren’t as high on our players as other people are. In St Louis it seems to be the opposite if you actually think of Freese as a good option. The dude is a bench player at best, why would you want him over Beltre?

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      • CodyG says:

        Wow, way to sound like a snob with your post. It’s an absurd thing to say that giants fans are any different than other fan bases when it comes to prospects. I know for a fact there have been over-hyped prospects by the Giants fanbase.
        Side note:I am a Cardinals but your evaluation of Freese as a “bench player”be a bust. proves to me that you are ill informed on his abilities. At every level in the minors Freese has been a player of plus defensive abilities while maintaining a well above average bat. Also Freese is still under control for 5 years and the cardinals do have other prospects that could take over if need be in Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter, Daniel Descalso…and first round pick Zack Cox. (of course not all of these players will be good enough to start)

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      • Kyle says:

        Giants fans are usually blindly optimistic about how good their players are it seems after winning the World Series. They claim that their pitching rotation is just as good on paper and in real life as the Phillies. And you guys won with mostly bench players and guys who could have been out of the league after a few were waived by multiple teams.

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      • Bill says:

        Yeah, this annoys me about San Fran. They got hot for a couple of weeks with a bunch of washed up players and beat teams with better players.

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      • Mark says:

        It must be hard being a bitter fan because your team did not win the World Series. A WS win is a WS win, and it is oh so sweet. Good luck next year.

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      • brendan says:

        @bill, yes, amazing that they beat 2 teams that with clearly better talent, and one team with (I think) slightly better talent. I’m still shocked it turned out that way. not complaining, as I’m an SF fan, but really, they overachieved.

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  4. chuckb says:

    It seems to me that the only reason that Beltre isn’t signed yet is that there just aren’t enough suitors for his services. It really is the Angels and then maybe the A’s (with whom Beltre seems to have no interest) and then no one else. I think Beltre was counting on the Red Sox getting involved but the Gonzalez trade sunk that ship so now Beltre’s agent (Boras) is doing everything he can to drum up a competitor for his services. There’s really nowhere else to go if not to Anaheim/San Bernadino/Rancho Cucamunga.

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  5. Sandy Kazmir says:

    Using my WAA chart from 2010, the worst 3B positions were, in order, Angels, Mariners, Orioles, White Sox, Tigers, and Indians. Setting aside location on the win curve are any of these teams a decent fit?

    Mariners don’t seem like they would take him back, the O’s added Reynolds (though as Chris says above, they do have some flexibility), the Tigers re-signed Inge who’s value is maximized at 3B. The Indians have not really been involved in any talks since about July it seems like, but he could be a nice fit there in the lineup and the field. How about the White Sox? Their park should help his offense play up a bit and an infield of Beltre, A-Ram, Beckham at 2B, and Konerko at 1B isn’t horrible defensively and a middle of the order with some combo of Beltre, Dunn, Konerko, Rios is a good mix of OBP and SLG. They’ve already spent a bunch of dough, but adding Beltre is the kind of move that puts them on par with the Twins and perhaps elevates them to the favorites in the division. Nobody wants to pay him that deal, but the ChiSox seem like a great fit to swoop in on the Angels loss.

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  6. Big Jgke says:

    Blue Jays?

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    • Jesse says:

      Can’t see them giving their first rounder to Boston unless it’s a significant bargain. Scott Boras means he won’t be a bargain.

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      • greenfrog says:

        Jays are still in rebuild mode. Adding Beltre on a six-year deal at this point doesn’t really fit the team’s development arc. Adding him a year ago on the type of contract Boston offered would have made sense – those are the kinds of deals Toronto is angling for now (the Buck and Gregg acquisitions last off-season fit this pattern).

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  7. DWrek says:

    Beltre would be a good fit for the Twins if it wasnt against company policy to have a solid infielder at all 4 spots.

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  8. Danmay says:

    The A’s need to sign Beltre for 5/75, or whatever it’ll take, in my opinion.

    With neither TEX or LAA improving since last year (so far) and the A’s greatly improving their COFs, I think the upgrade from Kouz to Beltre is all they need to be considered favorites in the division.

    Kouz’s 2010 UZR seems unusually high and his wOBA has been decreasing each of the past four years, I wouldn’t count on any more than 2 WAR from him next year.

    I see Beltre as a 4 WAR player in 2011 and I think with all of the money that came off of the A’s books they should be using the money they have now to improve, not save it for the eventual increase salaries that the likes of Gio and Cahill. It would be a risky signing certainly, but given their position in the AL West it seems like one they shouldn’t pass up.

    As far as Beltre not wanting to be in Oakland, I just don’t buy it. He turned down the A’s 2010 offer because it reflected his perceived decreased value and signing with BOS was his best chance to change that, which he did. Turning down the A’s 5/64 offer simply reflects that it was very early in the offseason and he thought he could get more. I could say more (I certainly have over at Athletics Nation) but I’ll stop there.

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  9. Jordan says:

    With this news coming out of LAA, Texas seems like the favorite to me. They had the money for Lee so they clearly have enough for Beltre. The fact that they lost out on Lee, while the teams around them have improved, means they might be feeling some added pressure. As for MY, he was willing to move off short for Andrus because it made the team better, so he’d probably be willing to move again for the same reason. And there’s the added bonus of keeping him away from the LAA…

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    • Jeff says:

      If you recall, MY asked for a trade when they wanted to move him…

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      • James C says:

        but that was before Michael Young tasted the playoffs. i very much doubt he would complain about another position change if it gave the team another shot at the World Series.

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  10. Mr Punch says:

    Beltre has been inconsistent but he’s not unlike Miguel Tejada: a high-energy guy who hits and fields. The A’s and O’s might think about that.

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    • Chris in Hawaii says:

      Tejada neither hit nor fielded well for the O’s last year.

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      • SeanP says:

        I’m not sure if you missed out on this, but Tejada did both of those pretty well for 4 years with the O’s.

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      • Kyle says:

        He didn’t do either very well for the Astros either in 2008 or 2009. Check out his splits… after he made the all-star team somehow both years, he hit 3 homeruns in the second half of 08, then turned around with a powerful 4 homeruns in 09.

        His defense has been horrible for years, and though it was a bit underrated in Oakland early in his career due to his absurd amount of errors, he’s nothing more than a pinch hitter, occasional DH at this point in his career. Unless you want to lose.

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    • PL says:

      Except Beltre is 5-8 years younger than Tejada.

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    • Jason B says:

      “a high-energy guy who hits and fields”

      especially in contract years!

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  11. Disco says:

    Cardinals are giving up on Freese?

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  12. Ryan says:

    I don’t see the Cardinals making a run for Beltre, however welcomed his addition would be. They need to employ cheap players like Freese if they’re going to be able to keep Pujols, although increasingly that’s a big “if.”

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  13. vivaelpujols says:

    There is no way the Cardinals make an offer for Beltre. They are already around 105 million in payroll this year, with a lot of long term contracts still on the books and Pujols needing to be resigned.

    Also at 3B they have David Freese, who is a solid if unspectacular option for next year, and Matt Carpenter who is a solid of unspectacular option for the future. Both are pre-arb and have always performed whenever they’ve gotten the chance. It would seem dumb to pay Beltre that much for a 2-3 win upgrade.

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  14. Mark says:

    Uggla is supposed to be getting 5 years/$60 million from the Braves. He and Beltre are both 31. Small edge to Beltre in WAR is all due to defense, Uggla’s glove would play better at 3B than 2B. In short they ought to be similarly paid.

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    • miffleball says:

      the big difference here is consistency, and i think it’s the only reason beltre is still unsigned. the only two all star caliber years he has had were contract years. given that he’s repeated the pattern now in his boston stint, i think people are afraid of what the yankees got in burnett. personally, at a gm, i’d never offer him anything longer than three years, and i’d insist that it be heavily incentive based, because he’d totally play out the string once the money was in the bag.

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      • Dwight Schrute says:

        It was also a contract year for him in 09 and he was terrible offensively(yeah I know he was injured but even when he played it wasn’t good) so I’m not buying the whole contract year thing. I think playing at Safeco half his games had more to do with his down years offensively in Seattle then him already having secured a big contract.

        I think the fact that his defense was great his entire time in Seattle also shows that he doesn’t only show up in contract years. If he didn’t care about how he performed his defense would’ve slid since that is what requires all the effort and goes more unnoticed than offense.

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      • miffleball says:

        in principle i’d agree with your objection except that the numbers don’t back it up. on his career, beltre’s home-road splits strongly favor the away, regardless of the team he has played for. in fact, the two years where his production was most consistent regardless of home-away were his first two years in seattle. otherwise, he’s typically had an OPS 70 points higher away from home (last year, for instance, it was .953 vs. .881). the same observation holds true for any measure that you choose for offensive production. i’d contend that in fact the injuries are the only reason his numbers weren’t significantly better during his last year in seattle since his best road OPS while playing there was .862. moreover, some of beltre’s best HR/FB rates occurred while playing at safeco – which would seem to argue that he just wasn’t hitting anywhere near as many fly balls.

        again, i’m sure i’m in the minority, but if i was a gm, my offer would be very performance based, and i’d have the terms announced to the media so that boras couldn’t twist them

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  15. scott says:

    I mean, it pains me to go for troll bait but I’ll bite.

    While Beltre’s banner year with LA is almost definitely not going to be repeated, his performance last year is believable going forward. Safeco is a well-established pitcher’s park so it was expected for his offensive output to suffer. Outside of Seattle, his numbers have been great. Beltre is undeniably a plus defender and easily above average with the bat. I’m a Braves fan with no bias for or against the guy; he’s objectively good. Bottom line: Adrian Beltre is a good baseball player.

    Also, I know you’re either an ignorant fan or just trying to rile people up, so your rants on baseball should be ignored. But if you can’t even use the right form of “you’re”, you might be better off not speaking up at all, on baseball or anything else.

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  16. “There’s no force fields at the 400 foot mark”

    I’ve got to admit, that made me laugh.

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    • GTStD says:

      In fairness, that would make Seattle Baseball interesting again… force-fields to make everyone else’s offense equally horrible.

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      • wobatus says:

        If Lost in Space (the original tv series) is any indication, there will always be some player who will actually draw more power from the force field.

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  17. Ace says:

    Cardinals are cheap, noway they take on Beltre’s contract. They have Albert to deal with, and soon Carpenter, et al.

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  18. Marver says:

    “The Athletics were rumored to be in on Beltre before though it’s not exactly clear why as they have Kevin Kouzmanoff at third base currently.”

    That actually is exactly why.

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  19. ofMontreal says:

    Oh CC the bitch wants to play smart now. It’s funny how many people hate on Beltre. He plays for a shithouse SEA team that sucks balls for most of 5 years and you don’t like his attitude? Screw you.

    Beltre goes to a real team and does .321/.365/.533. Leads the league in 2B, 4th in BA, 5th in SLG, 3rd in Hits. Plus plus defense. Your an idiot. You don’t like the look on his face? Too bad bro.

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  20. Jason B says:

    Yeah! I hate those damn caucasionoids. Always drinking their double-foam lattes and shopping at the Gap.

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  21. BrownDog says:

    Nobody’s mentioned it yet, but one of the factors in where Beltre signs will likely be draft pick compensation. The first-round picks of Oakland and LAA are protected, so the Red Sox would only get their second-rounder if they signed Beltre. OAK’s would be #79 overall, and LAA’s would be #78, which would mean TOR would only get the Angels’ third-rounder (#118) for losing Scott Downs.

    It would get even MORE complicated if the Angels also ended up signing Rafael Soriano. He’s the only remaining free agent with a higher Elias rating than Beltre. So LAA’s 2nd-rounder would instead to TBR, with their 3rd-rounder going to BOS and their 4th-rounder going to TOR. But the bottom line is that losing those extra picks won’t stop Arte Moreno if he wants both players.

    Both COL (#20) and TEX (#26) would both have to surrender their top picks. TEX has Philly’s first rounder after losing Cliff Lee (#33 overall), which would take some of the sting out of it. But they’d also have to take a bath moving Michael Young’s contract, assuming they could even find a taker. The Rockies would need to trade Ian Stewart someplace, and there’d certainly be some interest out there since he’s cost-controlled for 2011 and projects to be reasonably priced in his first two arb years. But both have to be viewed as real long shots to sign Beltre at this point.

    Want a dark horse team that nobody’s talking about? Try the Phillies, especially if they trade Blanton and free up his $10.5M salary (an $8M AAV hit over each of the next two seasons). It would obviously take some cash, likely a third to half of it. Placido Polanco is 35, but he’s still productive and provides positional versatility so he’s tradeable — and the Phils wouldn’t have to subsidize much more than $3M of his remaining salary (he’s due $12M through 2012, with an AAV of $6M)). The Phils could also have up to $67M in salary (~61.8M in AAV) coming off the books following the 2011 season (Oswalt, Ibanez, Lidge, Hamels, Rollins, Madson, Baez, Schneider, Gload), so a long-term salary commitment won’t be a problem for them.

    Their only real concern would be the 2011 luxury tax. The cap is at $178M (that’s AAV salary plus benefits), and I’ve got them coming in at just under $165M without Blanton & Polanco (while accounting for projected cash sent with them in those trades). That would put Philly at around $177M total. The Phils can likely sign him for $2M-3M less than the $18M AAV he’s seeking, but let’s go ahead and use Beltre’s numbers as a worst case. That would put them $17M over the max, which would be taxed at 22.5% for a one-year penalty of $3.8M at most. That’s chicken feed. It’s a million less than John effing Grabow will make this year, and can easily be absorbed by the Phils They’d then figure to be WELL below the threshold for the next several years.

    If the Phillies really want to clinch the NL pennant while they have the best 1 thru 4 starting rotation in the majors, and before guys like Oswalt, Ibanez, Rollins and possibly Hamels part ways, this would be a killer move for them. Beltre would be a defensive upgrade in the short term who would absolutely lay waste to CBP’s short porch in left.

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  22. scott says:

    Haha, you got me. I’m a white baseball fan. I’m also an 18 year old college student who really loves the game and hates fans like you. Just appreciate the man for what he can do. If you’re that uninformed on the guy, don’t rag on him so hard.

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    • Jason B says:

      “i’m only 15”

      Least shocking revelation of the year, narrowly beating out the other nominees:

      – Scott Boras is going to blow the achievements of his clients totally out of proportion
      – The sun will rise today
      – Derek Jeter re-signed with the Yankees

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  23. The_Marinator says:

    Beltre’s offensive output will be dictated by the ballpark he plays and how many illegal supplements he takes and gets away with.

    Let’s face it, Beltre is a big pile of junk for whatever team signs him to a ridiculously large contract. His defense won’t make up for his terrible approach to the plate and his overall stank.

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  24. Brian says:

    Beltre was a monster for the Dodgers in a contract year, 48 homers. Then, with the Mariners he became a good glove, decent offense guy. We all know what he did for the Sox. I wonder if he”ll revert to his Mariners form now that he’s signed long term again. I’ll bet the clubs looking at him wonder the same.

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  25. BrownDog says:

    uhhh (cough) ummm…

    Actually, if your point is that I should be lazy and write in Twitterspeak like you instead of using cogent English, then no, I don’t get it.

    Oh, wait. I almost forgot the obligatory “lol”.

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  26. Eric M. Van says:

    I believe the Red Sox had every intention of re-signing Belte, a player they made the high offer to both previous times he was a FA and who was a tremendous fit for the team. If they had planned on trading for Gonzalez now (as opposed to signing him as a FA next winter) they would have never picked up David Ortiz’s $12.5M option, as Beltre has averaged $9M more of value than Papi and could have been signed for way less than $21.5. Everything changed when another club (the Cubs?) surprisingly made Jed Hoyer an offer he was willing to take; Jed got on the phone to Theo who quickly made a better one.

    It’s important to realize that Beltre underperformed in Seattle for unknown reasons and that every club *but Boston* has to be concerned about that happening again. There’s some reason to believe that Beltre and the Sox coaching staff was a particularly good fit; contrary to the popular perception he had a terrific approach all season, keeping his mechanics sound, using the whole field, and centering the ball with Pedroia-like hand-eye coordination no matter where it was pitched. To my knowledge, there’s no PED that does that. To anyone who watched him play all 162 games, the mystery was not why he was having such a great year or how he did it for the Dodgers, but why he couldn’t do the same thing in a Mariners uniform. (And since we’re also asking that question about Chone Figgins and a bunch of other guys, the suspicion remains that there’s something about Seattle, e.g., the coaching or the travel schedule, that messes some players up more than others).

    So now you have a player who wants to play for a team who really likes him and certainly would be the high bidder for him, but doesn’t have a place for him until 2012. So it wouldn’t shock me if Beltre signs another one-year deal, and it wouldn’t even shock me if the Sox traded Ortiz (as fraught with difficulties as that is) and signed him now.

    In short, it’s going to be hard for Beltre to sign a deal that he knows Boston would trump for 2012 on, and I think that’s what’s holding up the works.

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  27. Eggy says:

    I see Beltre as too much of a risk, especially to a small market team, such as the A’s.
    As has been pointed out, he’s a disappointment waiting to happen over the long haul. He’s a .265, 25 hr guy unless his contract is up.
    Assuming Kouzmanoff is still under contract, I’d take my chances with him.

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  28. Jabberwocky says:

    Rich Lederer of is a douchebag.

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  29. rick p says:

    Signing Brandon Inge at 2yrs 11.5 mill two days after the WS certainly looks stupid now. The Tigers have the money and a decent relationship with Boras–but they are stuck with one of the five worst 3B in the majors

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