Thursday, December 2, 2010

Could Beltre Sign Soon?

Earlier today, ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that two rival club officials monitoring the Adrian Beltre situation believe he could sign with the Oakland A's within the next couple of days.  Craig Calcaterra of NBC's Hardball Talk had this to say on the report:

"I like me some Jayson Stark, but he needs to find a new set of rival executives to talk to. I mean, ask yourself:  on what planet does Scott Boras respond pliantly to a team basically saying “look, we have to decide whether or not to tender contracts to Kouzmanoff and Encarnacion by today, see, so you and your guy had best make up your minds by midnight, OK? You know my number.”  Especially when he doesn’t even have offers in hand from the Red Sox yet. If anything, an offer with that kind of thing hanging over it would probably cause Boras to hold out on it until March on general principle. He just doesn’t play that game.
And if Beltre did sign under such circumstances? Without the Red Sox getting in on the game yet? Well, then, one wonders why Boras is his agent anyway. You hire Boras to drive the bus, not to be driven by Billy Beane and not so you can get a geographically-based deal of convenience."
Agreed.  Something about Stark's report doesn't make a ton of sense.  Based on all of the reports I've read, Beltre's only received one concrete offer--the five year $64M contract he received from the A's a couple of weeks back.  Scott Boras isn't the type of agent who settles quickly.  He'll shop around until he gets the contract he feels his client deserves.  In Beltre's case, he indicated that Beltre could see a contract as large as $90M over five years.  Considering Boras's rosy view of Beltre's potential value, I find it hard to believe he'd be willing to settle so early in the offseason.

Peter Abraham's report on Adrian Beltre seems to contradict Stark's.  While Beltre confirmed that he could sign a new contract "right now if I wanted to," he seems interested in shopping around.  Beltre indicated his first choice was to remain with the Red Sox citing his love of Fenway Park and the atmosphere created by the fans at every game.  Early reports indicate Beltre is looking for five years, while the Red Sox appear willing to max out any offer at four years.  While I'm not convinced the Red Sox will meet Beltre's demand for a fifth year, they do have a pattern for starting out contract negotiations with shorter term contracts before compromising on additional years.  It should be interesting to see how this all plays out.

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