Tag:Adrian Beltre
Posted on: December 8, 2010 4:27 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 4:40 pm
 

Beltre market beginning to take shape

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Talks for free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre heated up Wednesday with several clubs scheduling meetings with Beltre's agent, Scott Boras for the afternoon and evening.

Among others, the Los Angeles Angels, quiet so far this winter, finally made a move into the Beltre conversations, according to CBSSports.com sources. The Rangers also are believed to be interested. Another AL West club, Oakland, made a significant offer last week of five years and at least $64 million according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, but pulled the offer on Sunday when Beltre didn't bite.

After reestablishing himself in Boston last season on a one-year deal, Beltre is looking for a multi-year deal with a winning club.

Beltre, a two-time Gold Glove winner, batted .321 with 28 home runs and 102 RBI for the Red Sox in 2010. He compiled a .365 on-base percentage and ranked fifth in the AL with a .919 OPS.

Currently, there is enough interest in Beltre that there is a chance he could sign before the conclusion of the winter meetings here on Thursday.

Sources re-iterated to CBSSports.com on Wednesday that while the Angels are interested in Beltre, free agent outfielder Carl Crawford remains their top priority.

Posted on: December 4, 2010 2:31 am
Edited on: December 4, 2010 2:46 am
 

Red Sox in serious talks for SD's Adrian Gonzalez

The on-again, off-again talks between the Red Sox and the Padres involving Adrian Gonzalez, an oldie-but-goodie first discussed at the July trade deadline in 2009, are back on in a big way.

Sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com late Friday night that the two clubs are discussing a blockbuster that would send a package of prospects to the Padres in exchange for Gonzalez, the three-time All-Star who is entering the final year of his contract in 2011 before he becomes eligible for free agency.

The Red Sox, under general manager Theo Epstein, have taken multiple runs at acquiring Gonzalez going all the way back to '09. At this moment, they appear closer to landing the slugger than they ever have before. There were indications late Friday night that a deal possibly could even be reached before the clubs get too deep into next week's winter meetings that begin in Orlando on Monday.

Traveling parallel paths in looking for a big hitter, the Red Sox this week have spoken with free agents Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre. With Kevin Youkilis reportedly working out at third base this winter, the Sox would have the flexibility, if they do not re-sign Beltre, to move Youkilis across the diamond and plug in Gonzalez at first base.

Of course, in negotiations, things are not always what they seem, and the Red Sox currently are juggling enough possibilities that a well-timed run at Gonzalez also could be designed to break the will of Beltre and cause him to lower his asking price and re-sign with them sooner rather than later. Theoretically, with Beltre in the fold, Youkilis would stay at first base and the Red Sox could turn away from the San Diego talks.

However, late Friday night, that's not the way Boston appeared to be moving. Conversations with the Padres were said to have gained momentum throughout the day on Friday.

While neither San Diego general manager Jed Hoyer nor Gonzalez could be reached for comment, a couple of things are in play here:

One, Gonzalez, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder after the season ended, has not given any indication that he's amenable to signing a long-term deal with San Diego for a discounted price.

And two, the Padres, surprise winners of 90 games in 2010, likely realize that their optimal time to move him is now, when they surely would receive a bigger package of players in return than they would in July, when Gonzalez might be a three-month rental for a contending team.

While trading Gonzalez would be a public relations disaster for a San Diego club whose attendance already was disappointing in 2010, the Padres have been taking on water this winter, anyway.

Already, they've lost three key pieces from a team that managed to stay in contention all the way to the last day of last season: Pitcher Jon Garland has signed with the division-rival Dodgers, infielder Miguel Tejada has signed with the division-rival Giants and catcher Yorvit Torrealba has fled to Texas.

As things stand now, the Padres have serious holes in their rotation and in their middle infield. And the 2011 payroll is not projected to rise much beyond the low $40 millions. In 2010, only the Pirates had a lower payroll than San Diego.

Consequently, despite their surprise season in 2010, the Padres appear to be veering more toward rebuilding with young pieces -- witness their acquisition of outfielder Cameron Maybin from Florida earlier this winter -- than toward contending again.

Much as it would be unpalatable to the local fans to see Gonzalez, a San Diego native, dealt, he currently appears on a dead-end course with the Padres, and trading him clearly is their best shot at quickly accumulating three or four players who would either be major-league ready, or help fertilize the upper-levels of a weak farm system.

Among the Red Sox's prospects who would be the most attractive to San Diego are pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Ryan Kalish.

Hoyer, who just completed his first season as Padres' GM, and his assistant Jason McLeod, each worked under Epstein in Boston through the end of the 2009 season. As scouting director for the Red Sox, McLeod knows their system exceedingly well. The Epstein-Hoyer relationship is another reason why many in the industry have predicted Gonzalez would wind up in Fenway Park since Hoyer replaced Kevin Towers in the GM's chair.

Though the Padres picked up Gonzalez's $5.5 million contract for 2011, there remain no indications that he will be a San Diego lifer. Gonzalez is looking for Ryan Howard-Mark Teixeira-Albert Pujols money, a six- or seven-year deal worth somewhere north of $20 million a year.

The Padres sent strong signals that they intended to trade Gonzalez last year until their unexpectedly good season caused them to keep that team together. Though Gonzalez is a local hero and a highly popular Hispanic player for a team that draws from Mexico, there were zero promotions for Gonzalez during the 2010 season. No cover of the media guide, no bobble-head nights, no posters, nothing. It was a strong signal that he was not in their long-term plans.

Gonzalez last year batted .298 with 31 homers and 101 RBI despite being bothered by a damaged right shoulder beginning in May. With two good shoulders in '09, Gonzalez crushed 40 home runs with 99 RBI.

With numbers like that in the cavernous Petco Park, you can't blame the Red Sox for dreaming about the damage the lefty swinging Gonzalez could do in Fenway Park -- especially with David Ortiz moving into the, ahem, twilight of his career.

Some 16 months after the Red Sox first started talking with the Padres about Gonzalez, they appear closer than ever to making that happen. And they still would have money left for either Werth or Crawford.

 

Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:21 pm
 

Clock ticking on A's, Iwakuma talks

The Oakland Athletics are all over the place this winter, from Lance Berkman to Adrian Beltre to Adam Dunn (before the White Sox closed the deal Thursday). But the one target with an increasingly urgent deadline is Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma.

The A's won exclusive bidding rights to Iwakuma, but that window closes Tuesday. Negotiations between Oakland and the right-hander stalled a couple of weeks ago, and if the two sides don't reach an agreement, then Iwakuma's only choice is to return to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan.

The A's have been library-quiet about the talks. With the clock ticking, one director of international scouting for a rival club expects the two sides to hammer out an agreement in the end.

"It's hard for me to see how Japan saves face if he goes back to Japan," said the scout, who has spent significant time in that country. "If he goes back to Japan, it will be an embarrassment to the team."

Iwakuma, 29, is not eligible for free agency in Japan until after the 2011 season, but Rakuten allowed him to be put up for bid to United States teams this winter.

The Athletics won exclusive negotiating rights with a $19.1 million bid. If Iwakuma signs, Rakuten receives the posting fee.

Iwakuma is said to be looking for $12 to $13 million annually in salary. Japanese media reported last month that the Athletics offered $15.25 million over four years. That's roughly the equivalent to what Iwakuma earned in salary with the Golden Eagles.

To play in the majors with Oakland, Iwakuma most likely is going to have to accept that his base salary will be lower than he wants because the A's will average the posting bid over the length of the contract as well, much like Boston did in signing Daisuke Matsuzaka to an overall deal of $103.1 million in 2006.

Then, the Red Sox paid a $51.1 posting fee and then agreed to a six-year, $52 million deal.

Spread over six years, the total of $103.1 million cost the Red Sox an average of just over $17 million annually, including the posting fee.

"He's good," the scout said of Iwakuma, who went 10-9 with a 2.82 ERA in 28 games in 2010 and is 101-62 with a 3.32 ERA over 10 professional seasons in Japan, with 46 complete games in 209 appearances. "I think he'll pitch a lot better than some guys who recently have come over.

"I like Hiroki Kuroda (of the Dodgers) a little better."

Iwakuma does not compare to Matsuzaka because their syles are so different.

"Daisuke wants to throw all of his pitches," the scout said. "Iwakuma is a sinker-slider guy. Daisuke is a high-count guy. Iwakuma is a lower-count guy.

"I think it will get done with Oakland in the end, but who knows?"

Posted on: March 8, 2010 11:56 pm
 

The Beltre-Lowell tango in Boston

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Not long after third baseman Adrian Beltre arrived at his new home, he and Mike Lowell had a talk. It wasn't a major summit. The two were simply out on one of the practice fields when Lowell approached him, the two said hello and they then carefully broached the 800-pound elephant in the infield.

Lowell, 36 and recovering from thumb surgery, is being moved out to the Shady Acres Rest Home by the Red Sox.

Beltre, who will turn 31 on April 7 and is signed to a one-year, $10 million deal for 2010 with a player option for 2011, is replacing him.

The complicating factor, of course, is that Boston had Lowell traded to Texas over the winter but the Rangers nixed the trade after Lowell failed the physical because of the thumb.

So Lowell, due $12 million this year, is rehabbing while in a holding pattern. The Red Sox quietly pray he shows enough this exhibition season that they'll be able to trade him.

"Most people probably think it's uncomfortable," Beltre says. "But for us, not at all."

That the two are co-existing this spring is a tribute to Lowell's class and grace as one of the club's elder statesmen, and to Beltre's ability to walk gingerly through what is undoubtedly, at times, an uneasy start with his new employer.

"It's not easy," Beltre says. "He's been one of the best third basemen in the big leagues for the last 10 years. I've been a big fan of his. For me, he has one of the best [sets of] hands of any third baseman. It's just a situation where he's been hurt the last couple of years. ... It's not easy to be in his situation. Everybody knows he can play.

"We both want what's best. He wants to play. I want to play."

Lowell was the MVP of the 2007 World Series. He's been a good player for the Red Sox and pure class in the clubhouse. Yet, he committed the cardinal sin of getting older and breaking down. The hip. The thumb. The gray hairs.

He's a fan favorite and beloved by the Red Sox. But, hey, it's a business.

"He's a guy we really respect," manager Terry Francona says. "It can be a little bit difficult, to be honest with you. He's a guy who's earned that. He's been in the game a long time. All those things we talk about loyalty, he's earned it.

"Then, as an organization, we make decisions and they can be hard on guys sometimes. I think they really recognize that.

"So we just try to handle it the best we can. That's about as honest as I can be about that. Sometimes our evaluation doesn't match the player's evaluation And we understand that, too. And they can't. They never do. Anywhere."

Likes: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia barking good naturedly at somebody across the clubhouse the minute I opened the door at 8 a.m. the other morning. The guy never stops, even before the coffee has kicked in. ... You've got to pull for young Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, one of the nicest guys in the game. ... Long-time Boston radio man Jonny Miller, who always has asked all the hard questions for WBZ and whose non-stop work in the face of nasty back problems is an inspiration. ... I'm perfectly fine with The Hurt Locker winning the Oscar for best picture. I'm really, really happy Avatar, the most overrated flick of the year, didn't win. ... The Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons opening the boys' basketball District Tournament this week at Blissfield. Go get 'em, Falcons.

Dislikes: Exhibition games have barely started and, already, players are dropping left and right: St. Louis' MVP Albert Pujols (back), Minnesota closer Joe Nathan (elbow), Cubs reliever Angel Guzman (shoulder), Dodgers catcher Russell Martin (groin) and Kansas City third baseman Alex Gordon (broken finger) for starters. Martin is probably out four-to-six weeks minimum. Gordon is expected to miss at least two or three weeks. Guzman probably will be sidelined for the entire season and the Twins continue to hold their breath on Nathan. Meantime, the Cards say they aren't concerned with Pujols. Yet. Yikes.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"If midnight is an awful hour
"Baby, why does it come so soon?
"If midnight is an awful hour
"Baby, why does it come so soon?
"It never brings me happiness
"Always leaves me filled with gloom"

-- B.B. King, Midnight Blues

Posted on: January 4, 2010 8:09 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2010 9:15 pm
 

Beltre agrees to deal with Red Sox

The Red Sox are on the verge of adding a new third baseman, agreeing to the framework of a one-year deal with Adrian Beltre for roughly $9 million, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

The deal, contingent on Beltre passing a physical examination and with a vesting option for a second year that is believed to be worth $5 million, is another move toward general manager Theo Epstein's goal of improving Boston's defense without taking away from run production. Beltre is a two-time Gold Glove winner who batted .265 with eight homers and 44 RBI last season in Seattle.

Boston clearly was headed in a different direction at third base for 2010, and the failed Mike Lowell trade to Texas didn't deter the Sox.

At 30, Beltre is five years younger than Lowell. And though Beltre long since has lost his 48-homer power (his career-high came in 2004, his last season with the Dodgers), the thinking is his offensive numbers should improve in Fenway Park as opposed to Seattle's pitcher-friendly Safeco Field. Until he was slowed by a groin injury that limited him to 111 games last summer, Beltre had hit 25, 26 and 25 home runs over the previous three seasons.

Spring training in Fort Myers could be awkward if the Red Sox are unable to trade Lowell before he theoretically proves this spring that his surgically repaired thumb is healthy. The trade with Texas -- which still could be renewed -- was nixed by the Rangers when physicians determined that Lowell was in need of surgery.

Lowell underwent thumb surgery last week, and recovery time is expected to be six-to-eight weeks. It is still expected that the Red Sox will trade him, it's just a question of whether it happens before or during spring training.

Posted on: December 9, 2009 6:23 pm
 

Notes on Johnny Damon and more

INDIANAPOLIS -- Where might outfielder Johnny Damon land if he and the Yankees can't get back together on a deal following New York's acquisition of Curtis Granderson? Here's one potential spot: San Francisco.

The Giants are looking to improve their offense and met this week with agent Scott Boras, who also represents third baseman Adrian Beltre, another potential fit with the Giants. Damon's bat certainly would compliment an ace rotation featuring Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Barry Zito well.

The Yankees remain interested in retaining Damon, though the acquisition of Granderson provides them with leverage to bring him back on their terms rather than on his -- or, at the very least, to meet on middle ground.

While announcing the three-way blockbuster trade with Detroit and Arizona that netted the Yankees Granderson on Wednesday, Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman said that the move does not necessarily preclude them from talking with Damon and free agent designated hitter Hideki Matsui.

"We're still fluid in our discussions right now," Cashman said. "It gives us comfort to know we have solved a big part of our offense. We have a great offense as it is, but when you have the potential of losing a Damon and Matsui ... with Granderson in mix, [it's like], 'All right, I've got certain things taken care of, it's not as bad as it was an hour before sitting at this podium."

-- Free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre expects to sign a multi-year deal, sources with knowledge of his thinking said Wednesday. Baltimore and San Francisco are among the interested teams.

-- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says he expects newly acquired outfielder Austin Jackson, from the Yankees as part of the Granderson trade, to break camp with the big league club next spring.

-- Dombrowski on the difficulty of dealing a player as popular as Granderson is in Detroit: "It's very difficult. When I talked to him on the phone today, I said it's one of the more difficult phone calls I've made in my career. You've all seen the ability, it speaks for itself. But he's as quality a human being as you'll find. He's an individual who meant a lot to our franchise, to our city, to our state. I know he's well-loved, and it's deserved, but as I told him, we're making some adjustments and it's a business decision. He's a unique individual, and I understand when you trade players that are known for players that are unknown, it's never a popular move with your fans."

-- Not much today on the Cubs' front in their efforts to deal Milton Bradley, other than the fact that it remains their No. 1 goal. "They're trying to push Bradley out the door as soon as possible," one source says.

-- Congratulations to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News, who will be inducted into the writers' wing of the Hall of Fame next July as the winner of this year's J.G. Taylor Spink award.

-- Congratulations also to the legendary Peter Gammons, who ends his 20-year run at ESPN this week and will move over to the MLB Network. The move will allow Peter more flexibility, less travel and more time in his native Boston area. Well deserved for one of the game's class acts.

 

Posted on: December 9, 2009 11:17 am
 

Twins express interest in DeRosa

INDIANAPOLIS -- Here's a new player on free agent third baseman Mark DeRosa: The Minnesota Twins.

Looking to fill a hole at either second or third base and hoping to fill it with a productive bat, the Twins spoke with Keith Grunewald, the agent for DeRosa, late Tuesday evening. The Twins are not yet believed to have made an offer yet for DeRosa, who also is a fit with St. Louis, Baltimore and San Francisco, among others.

The Cardinals would like DeRosa back, though their top priority right now is re-signing free agent outfielder Matt Holliday. If the Cardinals lose Holliday, it is believed that they will push hard to re-sign DeRosa -- if he's still on the market.

Minnesota's search, meanwhile, has taken them through San Diego's representatives here in Indianapolis, where the Twins discussed a potential trade for third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. The Twins also are tracking Adrian Beltre.

Posted on: December 5, 2009 2:16 am
 

Figgins: Mariners helped, Angels hurt

It is a move that at once improves their own lineup and draws blood from one of their fiercest division rivals: The Seattle Mariners have locked up free agent leadoff man Chone Figgins with a four-year, $36 million deal.

Though the formal announcement likely will not come until the winter meetings next week in Indianapolis because Figgins first must pass a physical, make no mistake: This is a huge get for the Mariners.

One of general manager Jack Zduriencik's main goals this winter is to improve an offense that ranked last in the American League in runs scored and tied for last in on-base percentage and batting average.

An All-Star in 2009, Figgins ranked second in the AL behind the Yankees' Derek Jeter in times reaching base (285), led the AL in walks (101) and ranked second in the AL with a career-high 114 runs scored.

With Figgins atop their lineup, the Angels ranked second in the AL in runs scored. And as things stand now, they do not have a ready replacement for Figgins in the leadoff slot.

While some in the industry expressed surprise that Figgins would leave Anaheim for another team in the AL West that plays in a ballpark that isn't particularly hitter-friendly, the move makes sense on at least three levels outside of Figgins scoring his first major-money contract:

-- Figgins has great familiarity with Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu, who was field coordinator for the Angels' minor-leagues when Figgins was a young player coming up through the system.

-- Mariners bench coach Ty Van Burkleo was a roving hitting instructor in the Angels' minor-league system as Figgins was developing.

-- Figgins' fiancé is from Vancouver, Canada, just a couple of hours' drive north of Seattle.

So. The immediate question now in Seattle becomes, where does Figgins fit into a lineup in which Ichiro Suzuki has batted leadoff in recent years? Maybe second in the order behind Ichiro, maybe lower.

Wherever, Figgins will give the Mariners an added dimension that they lacked in 2009.

In the field, Figgins is expected to fill a hole at third base as free agent Adrian Beltre seeks employment elsewhere. The Mariners offered Beltre arbitration and he has until Monday to decide whether to accept. The expectation is that he will not accept and will become a free agent.

If he does accept arbitration and returns to the Mariners, Beltre probably would play third base and Figgins could play second or the outfield.

In addition to ranking second in the AL in runs scored, Figgins also tied for third in the AL with 42 steals and is the only active player in the majors to swipe 30 or more bags in each of the past six seasons.

The biggest question revolves around his durability. At 32 on opening day 2010 and entering his first big contract, will Figgins be as effective in years three and four of this deal as the Mariners hope?

That, though, mostly is a question for down the road. For now, on a Mariners team that ranked as the most improved club in the game last summer and thinks it can contend in 2010, signing Figgins is very good news.

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com