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?
The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.
Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).
John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.
What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.
The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?