7:51 P.M.: OK, now we do know what the hell is going on: Beltre to Boston, one year, $9 million, with a player option for $5 million.
5:37 PM: First the Sox were in, then out, and now they’re apparently in again, as Gordon Edes at ESPN Boston is reporting that the Sox have actually made an offer to Beltre, but face serious competition from the Orioles, Athletics and Angels. Earlier, Amalie Benjamin tweeted that since Beltre lives on the west coast, he may just want to stay out there.
At this point, your guess is as good as ours.
2:50 P.M.: Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald tweets that it isn’t the Red Sox that are in on Beltre. In fact, he says that Boston is “not currently in the mix at all.” Hmmm. I’ll have to leave the west coast guess as the A’s until I hear a single other west coast team that is interested. But who else on the east needs a third baseman?
1:06 P.M.: Yahoo!’s Tim Brown tweets that Adrian Beltre is “close to choosing from between two clubs, source says, one from each coast.” Brown suspects that the two clubs are Oakland and Boston, which makes sense given previous reporting, speculation and whatnot.
Boston has got to be the favorite, simply because the Beltre-Boston talk has gone on for so much longer, and because Boston seems so much more willing and is definitely much more able to meet Beltre’s reported asking price of $10 million.
No, I don’t think he’ll quite get that, but unless he agrees to a substantial discount from numbers he was asking for a mere two weeks ago, or unless Oakland goes well beyond what a historically-frugal team which drew the lowest number of fans in baseball last year seems likely to pay, there’s no way I can see Beltre in an Athletics’ uniform.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.