The market for free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre is finally beginning to take shape.
The A’s reportedly offered Beltre a five-year, $64 million contract at the beginning of the offseason. He never even responded to the proposal and it has since been pulled off the table.
According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels have entered a bid of about five years and $70 million, and they don’t plan to go any higher.
Beltre took advantage of the smaller parks of the American League East this past year and registered a .321/.365/.553 batting line with 28 home runs and 102 RBI over 589 at-bats. He also played his usual brand of excellent defense at the hot corner and is thought to be seeking a six-year contract worth around $90 million.
As of now, it doesn’t appear that he has enough suitors to command that kind of asking price. The Rangers are trying to work out a deal with Vladimir Guerrero and are thought to be only mildly interested in Beltre. The A’s didn’t appreciate the 31-year-old’s silent treatment and are not expected to reenter negotiations. The Angels certainly aren’t going to bid against themselves.
Unless another club comes along with something better, the Halos are in the driver’s seat.
Where are those mystery teams when you need ’em?
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.