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01/02/11 10:44 PM EST
Roundup: No agreement between Texas, Beltre
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers officials said Sunday they do not have an agreement with free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. There appears to be some mutual interest on both sides, but nothing is remotely imminent.
A report out of the Dominican Republic said the Rangers had reached an agreement on a six-year, $96 million contract with Beltre. Club officials said the only agreements that the Rangers have are with free-agent pitchers Brandon Webb and Arthur Rhodes.
The Rangers reached an agreement with Rhodes three days before Christmas and one with Webb the day after. Neither agreement has been announced. Both pitchers were supposed to undergo physicals and the Rangers still have not made room on their 40-man roster. Right now, they have a full 40-man roster.
The Rangers have flirted with Beltre since the Winter Meetings and there have been off-and-on discussions with agent Scott Boras. Club officials admit they like the player, but also acknowledge that he would be a tough fit on a team that already has Michael Young at third.
"As of right now, Michael Young is our third baseman," Rangers president Nolan Ryan said Sunday night. "We haven't done anything."
The Angels have been considered to be the favorites to sign Beltre, who hit .282 with 28 home runs, 102 RBIs and a .553 slugging percentage with the Red Sox last year. Beltre has a home in the Los Angeles area, where he spent the first seven years of his career playing with the Dodgers.
Beltre, 31, is a two-time Gold Glove Award-winning third baseman who has run hot and cold as an offensive player. He drove in more than 100 runs and had a slugging percentage of over .500 for only the second time in his 12-year career last season. He was with the Mariners in 2009 and hit .265 with eight home runs, 44 RBIs and a .379 slugging percentage while missing significant time with an injured left shoulder.
Beltre averages .275 with 25 home runs, 89 RBIs, a .328 on-base percentage and a .462 slugging percentage for every 162 games during his career. Young, 33, hit .284 with 21 home runs, 91 RBIs, a .330 on-base percentage and a .444 slugging percentage this past season in his second season as a third baseman, but is not considered Beltre's equal as a defensive player.
Club officials said they have not approached Young about a new position. He spent five seasons as an All-Star shortstop before being asked to move to third base two years ago to make room for Elvis Andrus.
If the Rangers were to sign Beltre, Young could end up as the club's designated hitter while filling in at a number of infield positions. Young broke into the Major Leagues as a second baseman. He could even play some first, although the Rangers seem committed to Mitch Moreland.
The Rangers have made an offer on a one-year contract to Vladimir Guerrero to return as the Rangers' designated hitter, but there is no indication that the two sides are close to an agreement.
Beltre is looking for a six-year deal worth $14 to $16 million per year. Young is signed for three more years at $16 million per season. That would require a commitment of $30 million or more to two "non-premium" positions unless the Rangers could find a team to take Young. The Rockies expressed preliminary interest at the Winter Meetings, but are unlikely to take on close to his full salary.
If the Rangers signed Beltre, they would lose their first-round Draft pick to the Red Sox as compensation.
Here's a look at Sunday's other news from around the league:
The Phillies haven't started negotiating a multiyear deal with 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday. Hamels' current contract will expire after next season but he won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season.
After the Orioles added Derrek Lee, it became unlikely that they'd add another full-time designated hitter, MASN.com reported Sunday. With Lee and Luke Scott on the roster, there doesn't seem to be a possible fit for a player like Vladimir Guerrero or Jim Thome.
The White Sox may be interested in adding Rafael Soriano to the back end of their bullpen, but a big offseason has likely left them without enough cash to add the right-hander, SI.com's Jon Heyman reported on Twitter late Saturday night.