Adrian Beltre was a free agent without an ardent suitor, but the Seattle Mariners may have fixed that for him.
The moment Chone Figgins' deal with Seattle becomes official, third baseman Beltre will almost certainly become the leading candidate to replace him - in Anaheim.
No, it's not a classic fit. The Angels thrive upon on-base percentage, working counts, pressuring the defense of the opposition. For his strengths - Gold Glove defense and 25-home run power - Beltre has never seen a high fastball he didn't like.
At the very least, Beltre's agent, Scott Boras, will turn that Angels vacancy at third base into a bargining tool next week at the winter meetings.
Interested Boston? The price just went up. Still want him, Atlanta? Put another year on the table.
It may not work. Beltre, a free agent for the second time in his career, is coming off a season where he lost 51 games to the disabled list, needed another shoulder surgery and hit just eight home runs in the 111 games in which he did play.
In 449 at-bats, he walked 19 times.
Already this off-season, Beltre has seen the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies check him out - then sign Placido Polanco to play third base.
After Beltre's five-year, $64 million deal with Seattle, there are far less expensive options at third base this season for teams in need - Joe Crede and Mark DeRosa.
Ironically, the best market for Beltre now may be the Los Angeles Angels, for which Adrian can thank the Seattle Mariners.
Yes, he could still accept arbitration - something that would put a significant dent in the Mariners 2010 budget - but it's unlikely Beltre wants to return to Seattle. Safeco Field was not kind to him, and it's clear the Mariners have moved on.
Beltre has a lot of pride, and accepting arbitration and a one-year contract in Seattle would force him to swallow much of it. The market isn't what he'd hoped it would be, but Beltre is ready to start fresh.
He owns a home in Los Angeles. Convenient.
And now, some links:
- Lou Piniella loves Mike Cameron from their days together in Seattle, and the Chicago Cubs are now looking at the 37-year-old free agent for their center field opening.
- Kansas City is interested in free agent outfielder Scott Podsednik, the former Mariner, and future Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who played for the Astros and Rangers last season.
- Journeyman catcher Gregg Zaun jumped at a one-year contract with Milwaukee that, with a 2011 option, guaranteed him $2.15 million. The Brewers were pleased, because Jason Kendall had asked them for $5.5 million.
- Former Tacoma outfielder Prentice Redman signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- Buster Olney, following the Yankees organizational meetings, Tweets that New York has set a payroll of between $190-200 million for 2010, but that it's not a hard ceiling. Yikes.
- Marlon Byrd, the Rangers outfielder who batted .283 with 20 home runs and 89 RBI, is high on the Atlanta Braves shopping list.
- Perhaps pulling a trick out of the Scott Boras bag, Cubs GM Jim Hendry insists there are at least three teams interested in trading for outfielder and rascal Milton Bradley. Hendry didn't name one.
- Think the era of performance-enhancing drugs is over? Major League Baseball has suspended 79 minor league players this year for taking banned substances, including four more Friday.