Rangers’ interest in Adrian Beltre may be “to drive up the price” for rival Angels

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Now that the A’s have reportedly pulled themselves out of the bidding for Adrian Beltre the Angels are the presumed front-runners for the free agent third baseman, but T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com speculates that the Rangers will remain in the mix “long enough to drive up the price at the expense of the Angels.”

There were rumblings during the winter meetings that Texas could potentially sign Beltre and either pursue a Michael Young trade or move him to designated hitter while not re-signing Vladimir Guerrero, but Sullivan notes that the Rangers “don’t seem to be keen on paying him $70 million over five years” and that likely wouldn’t be enough to sign Beltre anyway.

Last week the Angels were said to have offered $70 million for five years, while the A’s reportedly offered Beltre a five-year deal worth $64 million early in the offseason before getting frustrated with the negotiations and dropping out. Few other teams have been linked to him publicly, which is uncharacteristic for a Scott Boras client.

Video: Cubs score run on Pirates’ appeal throw

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2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.

One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.

The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.