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

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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.

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.

Cubs are seeking a court order against unlicensed vendors

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If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”

[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.

While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.

Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.

This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.

The club’s full complaint can be found here.