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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.

Mets owners get some breathing room on their Bernie Madoff settlement payments

New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon stands on the field before baseball's Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Associated Press
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For years the central fact of life of the New York Mets has been that their owners, the Wilpon family and Saul Katz, lost a ton of money after investing it with friend and business partner Bernard Madoff, perpetrator of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. It has hampered their payroll and led to huge amounts of borrowing and restructuring that, before last year’s pennant run, seemed like it’d be a millstone on the Mets competitive prospects for years to come.

In addition to losing money, it was later determined that Katz and the Wilpons unfairly gained in some other respects and thus they ended up having their phony earnings clawed back via a settlement with the trustee managing the fallout of the Madoff scandal.  The upshot: the Wilpons and Katz, in addition to their losses, were ordered to pay nearly $60 million dollars back, half payable this week, half payable next year. That’s a lot of money for anyone to fork over and this week’s payment loomed large.

Now, however, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Wilpons and Katz will get some breathing room. Specifically, they have modified their agreement with the trustee and some of the owed money has been deferred. Instead of some $29 million payable this week, they will only have to pay $16 million. The remainder will be paid in four installments — from 2017 through 2020 — with an interest rate of 3.5 percent on the unpaid balance, Rubin says.

Now, there obviously was no promise that the $13 million saved this week be invested in the baseball team, but it’s probably a good thing overall for the Mets if their owners’ debt payments are reduced a bit.

Mike Napoli hit a homer for a fan with cancer

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 30: Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field on May 30, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Last night a fan named Kathi Heintzelman showed up at Progressive Field in Cleveland with a sign asking Indians first baseman Mike Napoli to hit a home run for her and to give her a hug. But there was a reason beyond her love for Mike Napoli. She’s starting chemotherapy today and the hug and homer would be a nice thing.  Hard to disagree with that, even if everyone knows that ballplayers can’t hit homers on demand.

Well, most players can’t. Mike Napoli did the easy part before the game, giving her a hug. Then in the sixth inning, he went yard:

 

Whether you believe that such things can be fated or if you merely acknowledge that Heintzelman asked Napoli for a homer at a good time — he’s on a hot streak right now and has hit bombs in four of his last 11 games — it’s a great story.

 

The Twins recall Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton
Getty Images
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Byron Buxton has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester by the Twins.

Buxton will replace Danny Santana, who was placed on the disabled list following a hamstring injury. But the bigger picture here is that Buxton will get a fresh go-around to show that he is the future of the Twins like so many assume he will be. The 22-year-old hasn’t hit so far in the majors, but he batted .336/.403/.603 with six homers, four steals, and a 26/11 K/BB ratio over 129 plate appearances after his demotion to Triple-A last month.

At this point the Twins, who stink on ice, need to just put their top young player in the game and let him learn to swim at the big league level rather than try to squeak out a few extra relatively meaningless wins with guys who won’t be part of the next contending Twins team.

92-year-old World War II vet throws a nifty ceremonial first pitch

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Think of how many bad ceremonial first pitches you’ve seen. From the worm burners from local business owners and pillars of the community at minor league games to ex-big leaguers who obviously haven’t picked up a ball since they retired to the famous celebrity ones that go viral the next day, there are probably a lot more bad first pitches out there than good ones.

But when the good ones come, they’re really enjoyable. And few are more enjoyable than the one which preceded yesterday’s Padres-Mariners game in Seattle. The pitcher: Burke Waldron, a 92-year-old veteran of World War II. He did it in his dress whites. He ran out onto the field beforehand. And though his catcher didn’t set up the full 60 feet, six inches away from where Waldron threw it, it was still a spiffy pitch. Way better than most: