|Reports: Adrian Beltre close to deal with Rangers||01.04.11 at 12:13 pm ET|
According to multiple reports, the Rangers are closing in on a long-term deal with free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports (via twitter) said that a six-year deal could be completed as soon as today, while Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com (via twitter) said that the deal “will effectively be for five years with a vesting option for a sixth.” Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of SI.com reported (via twitter) that a deal would be in the $90-100 million range.
UPDATE: MLB.com reports that the deal would be a six-year, $96 million agreement, with the Rangers having the ability to opt out of the sixth year if certain playing time thresholds are not reached.
Beltre spent 2010 with the Red Sox on a one-year contract, a partnership that worked out brilliantly for both sides when Beltre hit .321 with a .919 OPS, 28 homers and 102 RBI while playing excellent defense at third base. While the Sox explored the possibility of having him return to Boston, they instead elected to acquire Adrian Gonzalez via trade this offseason and to move Kevin Youkilis to third base, effectively ruling out a return by Beltre.
If Beltre signs with the Rangers, the Sox would receive a pair of draft picks (most likely Texas’ first-round pick, the No. 26 overall selection in the draft, along with a sandwich pick) as compensation for his departure.
That Beltre will yield two draft picks rather than one represents a sort of found-money for the Sox, as team officials thought there was little likelihood that he could become a Type A free agent when he signed as a free agent. One team official surmised that it would be “virtually impossible” for Beltre to achieve status as one of the top 20 percent of performers at his position over the 2009-10 seasons (based on an injury-marred 2009 campaign in which he hit .265/.304/.379/.683 with eight homers for the Mariners). But Beltre’s huge 2010 campaign vaulted him to Type A status, thus meaning that his departure as a free agent (after rejecting the team’s offer of salary arbitration) would net two picks rather than the one draft pick that a team receives in the sandwich round for a Type B free agent’s departure.
While the Sox gave up their own first round selection in the 2011 draft (No. 24 overall) in order to sign Carl Crawford, they have gained the Tigers’ first-round pick (No. 19 overall) for the signing of Victor Martinez, and now appear poised to claim a second first-rounder if Beltre signs with the Rangers. It would be the first time that the Sox have had two first-round picks since selecting Jason Place and Daniel Bard in the 2006 draft.
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