Adrian Beltre-to-A’s speculation heats up

Think back to the winter meetings, when there wasn’t a trickle of concrete news to report from the A’s camp. I kept getting the same questions from writers and scouts: “What’s going on with the A’s? Are they doing anything?” The meetings finished a little more than two weeks ago, and obviously, that was the calm before the storm. The A’s have been swift to act since then – trading third baseman Brett Wallace for outfielder Michael Taylor, signing outfielder Coco Crisp and bringing back free agent pitcher Justin Duchscherer. Now, speculation is heating up that Oakland is perhaps the front-runner to sign free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre, according to ESPN. Here’s a few thoughts on that situation. Feel free to chime in with your own:

Beltre is a logical fit for the A’s considering their need at third base (you’ve got to operate as if Eric Chavez won’t be available until he proves he can stay in the lineup). I can tell you Beltre has been in the A’s thoughts since the offseason began, but I don’t see them shelling out $10 million per season for him. The above ESPN piece lists the A’s as his only serious suitor right now, but it mentions a good point: If Beltre drops his asking price, other teams are sure to join the pursuit (including the Giants). I expect the A’s and other teams to play the waiting game with Beltre. That paid off for teams last winter, when the price tag dropped on free agents as the season drew closer.

–The A’s obviously aren’t viewing Jake Fox – acquired from the Cubs shortly before the winter meetings – as a full-time third baseman. If they were, Beltre wouldn’t even be a consideration. The A’s like Fox for his hitting ability – they’ll find a spot that suits him in the field. If Beltre is signed, I see Fox possibly playing a lot of first base (though the A’s already have depth there) or logging lots of at-bats at DH.

–What happens if Beltre becomes an Athletic, and – work with me on this one – Chavez puts together a healthy season? Surely the A’s would want to squeeze all they can out of Chavez, who makes $12 million in the final year of a six-year contract. It would make sense for Beltre (a Gold Glover like Chavy) to play third and Chavez to DH simply to ease the burden on Chavez’s back. But then where does Fox fit in? The options would be first base or the outfield, and the A’s are fairly crowded at both spots. GM Billy Beane likes to point out that having too many healthy players hasn’t been a problem for the A’s recently, so maybe injuries will sort out who plays where.

Would you like to see Beltre signed? How would you handle the playing rotation?

Joe Stiglich

  • A’s fan

    they dont need beltre they need a power hitter like A Gon from SD they can trade barton who is horrible some of the crowed outfield and some of there many young pitchers for him and im sure SD will trade him they are trying to get rid of him so why dont a’s make a push and if the a’s are going to sign a free agaent BRING BACK miguel tejedia and try to sign Ben sheets

  • John

    A couple years ago there was talk of moving Chavez to 1B and that could still work, with Beltre at 3B, Chavez at 1B, Fox at DH and Barton as back-up or trade bait. This would give Carter another year to develop at 1B in AAA, or we could pull him up early if he’s doing well and Chavy, Beltre or Fox gets hurt.

  • Jeff Hoffman

    No way do they have a chance to get A Gon from San Diego and why would you even if they wanted to part with the players that it would take to get him when they would never be ale to resign him.

    I think Beltre is a great option if the price does drop. The problem with that is other teams will jump in if it does as well. But I think he is a good option as long as it is less than what he is asking for now. He has really only had the one great year, but to me he is the best options for 3rd while they either draft or trade for a young player that will be able to play there at some point.

    While he isn’t a great hitter he would be an improvement over anyone else talked about to play there within the system or in free agency.

  • A’s fan

    A’s would have the money to sign A Gon it will cost them 10 million for him to play for the next 2 years. They pay chavy 11 million a year thank god its his last on his contract he was a huge bust. Not to long ago A’s offered giambi 82 million dollar contract if i recall. The A’s need a big name player so fans can buy some jerserys and get some fans back in the stands there young pitching staff needs some run support they tried that last year with hoilday but he was a bust because he sucked unless he plays at coors field A Gon can pound the ball in any field without someone who can drive in crisp what the heck is the point of signing him?????????????

  • Razumikhin

    You’re claim that Barton is horrible is a curious one. He posted a .372 OBP in 54 ML games and plays plus defense at 1B; however, if we jettison reality and assume that your claim is true, we’re left with the obvious question: why would the Pads want him in an A-Gon deal? Something doesn’t add up.

    If you’re serious about making a run at Gonzalez, you’re looking at a package that, at minimum, includes names like Barton, Taylor, and a couple of SP like Ross, Capra, Hornbeck, etc.

    The other issue with Gonzalez is his contract. He’s signed to an absurdly club friendly deal through 2011, but to extend him beyond that would be cost prohibitive. It also happens that around 2011-2012 the A’s will need to start thinking about locking up some of their young talent, e.g., Sweeney, Anderson, Cahill, Bailey, etc. Signing Gonzo to a long term deal could hamstring the club into dealing away some of that talent, or forgoing other opportunities to fill positions of need.

    Bottom line: it ain’t gonna happen, and that’s probably a good thing in the long run.

  • jstiglich

    A quick word about the Eric Chavez-to-1B idea. … Bob Geren was asked about the possibility of Chavez playing first base during the winter meetings. His take was that if Chavez’s back was stable enough to play first, it would be stable enough for third base. That was before the Beltre speculation began.

    I don’t think it’s out of the question Chavez could move across the diamond. Also, I wonder how he might adjust if all he did was DH. You’d think that a player might hit better if that’s all he had to concentrate on. But for some guys, the balance of having to play defense actually helps them at the plate. We don’t know how Chavez would take to a DH role because he’s never had to do it regularly …

  • I think the signing would be interesting and would give the A’s a legit shot at what is a weak AL West. Beltre can hit for power which the A’s always need and if the speed at the top of the lineup pans out he’ll have the chance to drive in his fair share of runs. If the pitching holds up and Young can improve upon the starters in the 2nd year they’ll have a good squad.

    The one thing I like about Beltre is that he’s a good ground ball/line drive hitter. Much more so than Fox or a healthy Chavez. The Coliseum is huge and having a cleanup hitter that doesn’t hit a lot of fly balls, statistically, is a good thing. If they can get him for less than 10m/year that’d be good, but if the price drops he may want to go to another team a bit closer to contending. I was thinking the Twins.

  • Chavez will spend the last year on the DL. He is finsihed. If he is playing this year the A’s will try to trade he by July with some cash to get anybody for him. Beltre does not make sense. The A’s have no chance for the playoffs as Seattle and Angles should battle for first and the A’s and Texas should battle for last. The A’s need to play the young guys one more year, then try to find players for the holes. I think the should trade an outfielder for a 3rd baseman if then can.

  • Ryan

    Now we are saying that we need to fill the hole at 3B with another young guy! We had that in Brett Walace, I know the issue with Brett is his defensive abilities, but that was an issue with Chavez before Ron Washington turned him into a Gold Glover. I think it was stupid to trade Wallace away from Taylor who is older and has had to spend more time in the minors. Plus, the signing of Coco shows that the A’s don’t expect him to be MLB ready, so what was the point? Also, I think it is nice to point out that the coaches/managers the A’s let get away (Wak and Washington) have all improved their respective teams while Geren has lead the A’s down their worse stretch in years. I guess that is what you get when you hire the “Best Man”.

  • Jin

    Billy Beane is too smart to get Adrian Beltre. His numbers have suffered since coming to the AL. His OBP was .304 last year. Not what Billy is looking for. His career OBP stands at .325. Nothing special in Billy’s eyes. You could argue that last season was due to injuries but beyond his last season with the Dodgers in 2004, he hasn’t had a season that merits a $10+ million contract. Billy’s learned his lesson with Eric Chavez. Billy said that he signed Chavez over Miguel Tejada because unproven Bobby Crosby was waiting and there was nobody behind Chavez at third base. The real reason is just as he let Jason Giambi walk, he let Tejada walk amid rumors of steroid use. Tejada had similar numbers last year although his defense is more questionable than Beltre. And why waste $10 million plus on Beltre during a “youth movement.” Billy needs to step up and make some moves that make sense. He can’t say that the A’s need to get younger. The outfield is crowded but there’s no superstar anywhere on the field. Kurt Suzuki at catcher is the only position player that’s locked in. Mark Ellis as well but more for his Gold Glove than his hitting. Other than that, there’s nothing on the field except potential. It’s time to sign some players that will excite A’s fans and put fans back in the seats. He has to be cautious not to outspend, considering they may be headed southbound to San Jose and are years away from a high-revenue generating stadium. But let’s not use that as an excuse. The Giants have a relatively new stadium and post-Barry Bonds, have done nothing to show a new stadium puts butts in seats. It’s the superstars that drives butts in seats that creates the revenue to allow teams to succeed. Let’s step up and get some real stars: Carl Crawford can run around the bases like no other, Vladimir Guerrero or Bobby Abreu can play outfield and then settle into the DH role next year after Chavez is off the books. Billy had the right idea last year but Nomar, Giambi and Cabrera were definitely not the answer. With all these young players, stepping up and increasing the payroll a little will not be too tough and will at least lead to an identity for the team that Bob Geren can work with.

  • Steve

    Beltre is not the answer for the A’s. I like the man, but the only thing he will do is keep himself healthy for the next team. We have seen this before with the likes of Matt Holliday, Frank Thomas, and Johnny Damon. WE have some good young talent but I feel feel we lack the coaching to get us out of the cellar. Look around the league guys ! The other teams are full of our talent ( players and coaches ) but we just cant keep them. The bottom line is money. Until we get a new stadium and a steady source of green backs this trend will continue.

  • beltre is the answer