ESPN.com’s Jayon Stark passed along an odd rumor earlier today, stating that the A’s and Adrian Beltre were close to agreement on a contract and that the deal might be finalized by this evening.
It’s now past 9:30 PM in the east and nothing has been signed.
Beltre is a Scott Boras client and Boras often insists that his top tier free agents wait until the later part of the winter to ink contracts. That way he can get more teams involved and play off the desperation of clubs that miss out on their primary offseason targets.
That doesn’t mean that the A’s won’t sign Beltre. In fact, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle heard Thursday that Billy Beane and Co. have indeed made a “big offer” to the free agent third baseman.
But it probably won’t happen for several more weeks.
Beltre, 31, registered a stellar .321/.365/.553 batting line, 28 home runs and 102 RBI this past season for the Red Sox. Those numbers will take a dip in Oakland, where the dimensions aren’t as hitter-friendly as Fenway Park, but he’s still a maestro defensively and will greatly improve the A’s chances of competing in a tough AL West division.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: