Oh, dear God, it happened again! Well, it might happen again... maybe.
While it isn't official just yet, it appears that Adrian Beltre is to the Texas Rangers is at least a much more real possibility, with the Angels once again getting left at the free agency alter. Since the story seems to change on an almost hourly basis, I have no idea what to think anymore, so I'm going to just go ahead and assume the Halos are going to get screwed and assess what this loss means to the rest of their off-season plans... assuming they have any left that haven't already gone up in smoke.
Et tu, Beltre? Et tu?
- Let's get this out of the way first. Do NOT torch Tony Reagins for this one just yet. We don't know kind of deal Beltre is going to get yet, and with Scott Boras prominently involved, there is a good chance it is a stupid one. It is one thing to overspend for a superstar like Carl Crawford, but to pay too much for a complementary piece like Beltre is quite another. That kind of investment, if it goes bad, can really hose your payroll for years to come. So if Tony and Arte decided not to match whatever ridiculous deal Texas is going to give Beltre, then they should be applauded rather than attacked.
- And since I mentioned it, the Beltre loss doesn't come anywhere close to the Crawford Catastrophe. Beltre is a good player, but his career has been marked a lot more by frustration than anything else. He has always been a great defensive third baseman, but offensively, he is all over the map with his two biggest years coming during contract years. He'll be a nice add for Texas, but he probably isn't even an All-Star. Heck, he may not wind up being any better than the guy he is unseating at third in Texas, Michael Young. Before the off-season began, I actually was leaning towards the "don't sign Beltre" side of things. He's only become more and more attractive to Angel fans in recent weeks because he is the best of what is left on a barren free agent market, kind of like when you are at a bar right before closing time and the one girl who you thought was a six when you first got there, suddenly looks like a nine that you just have to take home because you are drunk and desperate. Maybe she turns out to be a tiger in the sack, but there is also a chance that you are going to roll over in the morning and wonder what the hell you were thinking and then wonder why it burns so much when you pee. Have I beat this analogy into the ground enough yet? OK, good. Moving on.
- Or not. That aforementioned burning sensation? It has a name and it is spelled B-O-R-A-S. Once again, Scott Boras and the Angels can't work together. It doesn't sound like the negotiations ever got contentious, but I kind of doubt that the Angels got any more eager to deal with Boras again anytime soon. I can only assume this means the Halos won't bother going after Rafael Soriano, lest they are interested in having Boras lead them around by their noses for a few more weeks. Let's just hope that all of this Boras nonsense hasn't soured Moreno too much since Jered Weaver and Kendry Morales are still his clients.
- If you think the Angels are toast, you might be right, but I don't think they are going to take is lying down. There is nothing even close to Beltre left at any position on the free agent market, but the Angels should be plenty active on the trade market. They were probably going to have to be anyway since they needed to clear payroll if they signed Beltre. There are a number of players the Halos could make a run at if the lose out on Beltre: Aramis Ramirez, Justin Upton, Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, Grady Sizemore and maybe others that just aren't jumping to mind right now. My point is that this isn't over yet. Tony Reagins has shown an ability to go out and get deals done via trade and I'm sure he will work the phones hard to add a bat or two. Angel management may be stubborn when it comes to spending more than they think a player is worth, but that doesn't mean they are dumb enough to actually go into 2011 without adding anything to their lackluster lineup.
- Boy do I feel a little better now about that Alberto Callaspo trade. Callaspo is better than he showed last season and can be a useful player and now he might get quite a bit of playing time since the Halos would likely be better off finding an upgrade in left field rather than third. I'm not saying Callaspo is going to be a savior or anything, just that the Angels at least have some depth at the position and won't be forced to trot out Brandon Wood again.
- The only remaining point of intrigue remaining is whether or not the Angels will do any long-term spending at all. They could jump into the trade market without taking on too much long-term money or make a short-term investment in a player, but if they simply accept that the struck out this off-season, they could save up for next off-season and make a run at Prince Fielder. I'm guessing that the Halos will go out and sign somebody to a decent-sized deal just so they have something to point at and show the fans to generate hype, but nothing too cumbersome so that they find themselves cash-strapped next winter.
Finally, please keep in mind that everything above is purely speculative. As of this posting, Beltre is not a member of the Rangers and it will have been over 24 hours since the original story of him agreeing to a deal was first reported. The longer this deal hangs in limbo, the more likely it is the thing falls apart. And if it does fall apart, then Beltre and Boras won't have a pot left to piss in that isn't located in Anaheim. Though I am not a huge Beltre fan, he would be a welcome addition to the roster, so let's cross our fingers and hope that Texas somehow drops the ball and drops Beltre right into the Angels' laps