Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Another IF target gone

Adrian Beltre (left) is reportedly a physical away from signing with the Boston Red Sox —a one-year deal for $9 million plus a player option for $5 million with $1 million buyout.

This, then, is a one-year, $10 million deal, since he's not going to accept that $5 million option short of a paralyzing accident. He'll take the $1 million buyout and try free agency again.

Even on a one-year basis, $10 million figured to be a bit rich for the Twins, who are already looking a a $90 million-plus payroll with the Joe Mauer negotiations at whatever phase they may be.

My earlier list of eight free agent infielders I imagined the Twins making take-it-or-leave-it offers to is now down to four: Miguel Tejada (who would be moved to third base), Orlando Cabrera (who would be moved to second), Felipe Lopez (second base) and Orlando Hudson (second base).

Meanwhile, the Red Sox figure to be motivated sellers of Mike Lowell, who has a $12 million contract for 2010 and just had thumb surgery. A Lowell to Texas deal (for prospect Max Ramirez) fell through because of the thumb issue; supposedly (a) the Red Sox are willing to pick up $9 million of Lowell's salary and (b) they're willing to wait until spring training, when Lowell is supposedly to be ready to show that the thumb is fine, to do a deal.

Also meanwhile, the Twins are said to have dangled Glen Perkins in a trade for Kevin Kouzmanoff of the Padres, with San Diego wanting something more than Perkins.

Kouzmanoff as a hitter is Joe Crede, only younger, sounder of back and with less defensive ability. He's arbitration-eligible, which is why the cash-strapped Padres are peddling him.

That there is mutual disgruntlement between Perkins and the Twins is no secret. I can't imagine the Twins wanting to have him in camp.

So ... Perkins for Lowell and $9 million? If the front office doubts it can get one of the free agents at its price, and if the alternative fall-back option is Crede, it's a deal they should offer Boston. Whether the Red Sox would take that offer might depend on whether they want a bird in the hand or the ones in the bush.

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