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If the Red Sox trade for Adrian Gonzalez, what does that mean for Adrian Beltre?

Dec 4, 2010, 10:45 AM EDT

adrian-beltre-red-sox-swing Getty Images

Adrian Beltre has made it clear that he’d prefer to re-sign with the Red Sox following his one-season stop (and MVP-caliber performance) in Boston, saying the following earlier this week:

I got used to seeing that park full in the first inning and still full in the ninth inning. I liked that atmosphere. If everything was close to the same, I would go back to Boston.

And the Red Sox definitely had mutual interest in re-signing Beltre. Until now, at least.

If reports about Boston and San Diego having an Adrian Gonzalez blockbuster trade all but completed prove accurate, then the Red Sox will play Gonzalez at first base, move Kevin Youkilis to third base full time … and have no room in the lineup for Beltre to return.

So where does that leave the free agent third baseman? Oakland, probably.

Early in the offseason Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reported that the A’s offered Beltre a five-year, $64 million deal, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe cast some doubt on the report and wrote that Oakland general manager Billy Beane “supposedly was a little baffled” when he heard about the $64 million offer.

However, this week Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reported that the A’s and Beltre were close to reaching an agreement. Several days have passed since Stark’s report and obviously Beltre is still a free agent, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has confirmed that the A’s did indeed make Beltre “a big offer.”

Whether that means $64 million for five years or something else is unclear, but Oakland has been portrayed as a legitimate player for Beltre throughout the past two months and if Boston is suddenly completely out of the mix his negotiating leverage may have vanished to the point that he might have no choice but to accept Beane’s offer or take a much lesser deal elsewhere.

As if the Red Sox trading for one of the best players in baseball wasn’t enough, Adrian Gonzalez going to Boston would have a ripple effect that could send one of the elite free agents on the market to Oakland. For his sake, I hope Beltre didn’t get that used to seeing the ballpark full from the first inning to the ninth inning.

  1. paperlions - Dec 4, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    He would fit in great on the Cardinals…if they could find room in their payroll with Holliday, Pujols, Wainwright, and Carpenter.

  2. Ari Collins - Dec 4, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    Another interesting point: if Beltre signs with the As or Angels, the only other teams (far as I know) he’s been linked to, then the Sox will fail to get a first-rounder in compensation. They’ll still end up with two first-rounders, two second-rounders, and three sandwich picks, assuming Felipe Lopez also signs somewhere.

  3. Ari Collins - Dec 4, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    More to the point of what you were saying, I imagine the Angels go hard after Beltre, and I imagine he’ll be well paid. But maybe not as well paid as with the Sox still bidding.

  4. JBerardi - Dec 4, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    What does this mean for Beltre? Well, ever heard the phrase “kick rocks”? That’s what it means.

    Also, it hopefully means the Red Sox end up with some comp picks. Which would make the Beltre signing one of the highlights of Theo’s career, really.

  5. drahcir0789 - Dec 4, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    Was it really necessary to add in that last sentence?

    • Glenn - Dec 4, 2010 at 1:36 PM

      Yes

    • JBerardi - Dec 4, 2010 at 2:54 PM

      Yeah, pretty much.

    • summerof67 - Dec 4, 2010 at 5:32 PM

      Yes. For one year, he was a productive offensive player with flashes of brilliance on defense. Not the highlight reel that passes on Youtube, but very good. He had two severe mishaps that, for me, pointed to problems with him: his collisions with Jacoby Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida. What is so basic about not communicating with your fellow teammates on the field? What is up with that?

      Sure, his offense was good, but it had to be. He needed to compensate for the two players that he sent to the ER and effectively ended their seasons (and with Hermida, maybe a career).

      Basically, the Red Sox signed him for cheap with the potential for a tremendoous upside for a year, and they got what they bargained for, mostly.

      But Beltre always over-performed for his contract years. And this was an inexpensive rental for the Red Sox.

      Theo made the smart move in getting A-Gon and letting Beltre walk. And V-Mart, too. Now it is up to someone else to sign an aging player who doesn’t listen to his teammates on the field. The A’s? They have the money for him? I don’t think so.

      Good luck on the West Coast, Adrian. Write when you get work.

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