Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Still Quiet on the Adrian Beltre Front

As the only high ceiling free agent left on the market (with all due respect for Mr. Pavano), things have been oddly quiet concerning Adrian Beltre. After making yet another run on all of the big sports sites, there is nary a rumor to be found. You would think that his agent would at least be planting news out there once in a while.

We know that Beltre turned down a four year deal from the Red Sox (or at least that's what we've been told). So perhaps Beltre has misunderstood his market value. Earlier news entries indicated he wanted to play for the Red Sox, but his refusal to sign that deal ended that route for him. That might have been a miscalculation. So now the question is whether or not there are any teams out there that are willing to go anywhere near what the Red Sox were offering.

Of course everyone thinks of the Angels. The Angels lost out on Carl Crawford. Everyone seems to think they need to make a statement signing. Statement signings are fictional creatures. Teams make moves based on what they think will best help their teams win. That's why all this baloney about Brian Cashman in panic mode is so obsurd. Cashman has never been in panic mode. But the Yankees don't need Beltre. They already have their third baseman for another fifty or so years, right?

So where else could he land? There are a couple of things we can assume. The first is that Beltre will not want to sign with any team that has an unfriendly hitting park. He had enough of that in Seattle. Therefore, it is doubtful he would want to go to the Giants or the Padres. Secondly, he would most likely want to go with a team he thought had a chance to win. Beltre already jilted the A's, so you get the opinion that he doesn't think the A's will be competitive.

So where does that leave us?

NL West

Dodgers - Have an aging Casey Blake. But not much money to spend. Plus, that's a tough ballpark for a hitter. Beltre's already played there.
Giants - Pablo has to lose weight, but he's their third baseman.
Padres - All set at the moment at third.
Rockies - They will stick with Ian Stewart because he is young and cheap. If he fails to come on, they have other alternatives.
Diamondbacks - They just signed Melvin Mora, but Mora can go to utility. Imagine Beltre and Drew in the same infield. Slick... But Beltre will probably not want to go to a team in transition.

NL Central

Cubs - The Cubs are stuck with Aramis Ramirez for a gazillion dollars.
Reds - Scott Rolen
Cardinals - Hoping that Freese comes back. Saving all their money for Pujols.
Astros - Good hitters park for a right-handed batter. But they will go with Chris Johnson.
Pirates - Pedro Alvarez

NL East

Mets - David Wright
Phillies - Placido Polanco. But Polanco is best as a utility guy. Great hitters' park. But do the Phillies have any money left?
Braves - Will hold the spot for Chipper Jones.
Nationals - Some guy named Zimmerman plays there.
Marlins - No. Beltre would never sign with the Marlins. Cheap. Bad hitter's ballpark.

AL East

Red Sox - Already out
Yankees - A-Rod
Orioles - They've already signed Mark Reynolds.
Tampa - Doesn't have the money.
Blue Jays - Nice ballpark to hit. But can't picture Beltre going there. They could use him though.

AL Central

White Sox - They would be a good fit. They could certainly use a third baseman.
Indians - No way. No money.
Tigers - They signed Inge. Have no idea what they see in him. But however...
Royals - Beltre wouldn't go there.
Twins - They have a great young kid who will play there for years.

AL West

Athletics - He already turned them down.
Rangers - They have Young
Angels - Great fit.
Mariners - You can't go home again.

As you can see, it's a smaller market than you'd think. That being the case, Beltre's bargaining position can't be perfect. He might end up settling for less than what the Red Sox offered him. Perhaps the quiet is his hoping for a better offer. Perhaps the Fan is all wet and a deal is being hammered out as we speak. We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

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