Did the A’s really make that five-year, $64M offer to Beltre?

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It’s still pretty early in the offseason and most top tier free agents won’t sign for another couple of weeks.  Or months. The hot stove, however, is always burning.

Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reported two weeks ago that the A’s made a five-year, $64 million offer to free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre.  We’ve heard nothing about the proposal since, which has Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wondering whether that report might have been incorrect.

According to Cafardo, A’s GM Billy Beane “supposedly was a little baffled” when news of the offer came out.

The A’s are trying to improve their offense this winter, but they don’t typically shell out long-term deals to high-priced free agents and the timing of the offer seemed odd.  Beane and Co. may be interested in acquiring Beltre, who registered a .321/.365/.553 batting line, 28 homers and 102 RBI in 2010, but it sounds like they’re not being aggressive as previously thought.

If Oakland doesn’t add Beltre, Kevin Kouzmanoff is likely to open the 2011 season at third base.  He hit just .247/.283/.396 over 551 at-bats this past year, though he did find a way to tally 17 home runs and 71 RBI while playing seriously good defense at the hot corner.

Wanna see Yasiel Puig and Dallas Keuchel naked?

Associated Press
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On the one hand, the ESPN Magazine “Body Issue” is a transparent attempt by ESPN to sell magazines via the objectification of the human form in a time of the year when only one major team sport — the one ESPN seems to care about the least, baseball — is active and people are generally not buying a ton of magazines.

On the other hand, unlike “Sports Illustrated’s” swimsuit issue, ESPN objectifies men as well as women, at least making things putatively fair. Oh, and they also, on occasion, put people like Prince Fielder in the thing so as to not exclusively promote unrealistic body standards.

So, on balance: not great and still cynical, but it’s better than its antecedent, and I suppose that’s not nothing.

If you can make your way through the moral and ethical implications of all of this unscathed, feel free to gawk at Yasiel Puig and Dallas Keuchel naked. Here is the link to Puig’s spread, here is the link to Keuchel’s. For what it’s worth, Puig looks like he’s having more fun. Shocker.

A taste, from Puig’s Twitter feed:

Keuchel didn’t tweet out pics of himself in the all together. Like I said: he didn’t seem to have quite as much fun with it.