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 invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.