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.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.