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Friday, December 17, 2004
Beltre agrees to deal with Mariners. Five years, $64 million. (Yahoo!)

Free Agent Wrap-Up: The Third Wave.
Last month, I made the case that Adrian Beltre, and not Carlos Beltran, was this offseason's most desirable free agent once everything -- age, offense, defense, likely cost -- was factored in. Now that the terms Beltre ended up agreeing to are known, I am frankly amazed by how much of a bargain he ended up being.

The fact that the Mariners got Beltre and all it took was one more year and an extra $20 million over what the Diamondbacks gave Troy Glaus is astounding. Glaus is two years older than Beltre, is coming off of two injury-plagued seasons, may have to move to first base eventually because of his shoulder, and has never been as good as Beltre was in 2004, offensively or defensively. And for just another year commitment and less than $2 million more per season, the Mariners have Beltre.
(The Hardball Times)

Woo. "Unbelievable, both the signing itself and the price. Troy Glaus costs $45M over four years, and Beltre a mere $65M over five? Great, great deal. I haven’t been this impressed with an M’s move since the Freddy Garcia trade, and before that… can’t think of one." (U.S.S. Mariner)

Suddenly, it's a Mariners Christmas. "'It's an awesome lineup that can compete with the Yankees, the Red Sox, or anybody,' Niehaus said. 'They say that pitching and defense wins ballgames. Well, they've got the defense now and the pitching remains to be seen. But the thing that wins ballgames is runs, don't let anybody fool you. This is going to be fun, I'm telling you.'" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Hudson to Braves. The A's got outfielder Charles Thomas and pitchers Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer. (Yahoo!)

Smoltz agrees to new two-year deal with Braves. He'll be back in the starting rotation. (Yahoo!)

Report: Yankees may acquire Johnson in three-team blockbuster. "According to the report, the Yankees would send righthander Javier Vazquez and prospects Eric Duncan and Dioner Navarro to the Dodgers. Los Angeles would send righthander Brad Penny, reliever Yhency Brazoban and outfielder Shawn Green to the Diamondbacks, who would ship the 41-year-old Johnson off to New York." (Yahoo!)

Yankees don't have a deal for Unit -- yet.
The trade was proposed before Adrian Beltre agreed to a $64 million, five-year deal with the Mariners on Thursday.

By failing to re-sign Beltre, the Dodgers may rethink their role in the trade,'s Jayson Stark reported. Other issues that threatened to derail the trade include the waiving of Green's no-trade clause.

A source close to Green, who is due $16 million in 2005, told that the Dodgers outfielder is happy living in Southern California, where he grew up, and has expressed no desire to leave Los Angeles. How much money the Diamondbacks would receive from the Yankees is also a point of contention. Sources told Stark that moving Duncan and Navarro would preclude the Yankees from sending money to Arizona.

Another obstacle that reportedly could derail the trade is Vazquez's salary; he is due $34.5 million over the next three seasons and Los Angeles apparently wants help from the Yankees footing the bill.

I can't wait until April 4th. "I’m sold! Maybe I’m an easy mark but after listening to Pedro Martinez’s press conference today and hearing the interviews with Omar, Willie Randolph and Rick Peterson and of course Petey himself, maybe it’s the winter weather and the threat of snow this weekend that has me counting the days to Opening Day...One of the better exchanges was when Tom MacDonald of NY1 asked Petey if he came to the Mets just for the money. Petey told him he’s been a millionaire since he’s 24 years old and has made plenty of money since then. He then said to MacDonald, 'What do you think, I’m some bum in the street?' Yeah this is going to be interesting." (The Eddie Kranepool Society)

Incredibly Beautiful People (Part Two). An excerpt from Glenn Stout and Richard A. Johnson's book, Red Sox Century. "Boston and New England embraced the [1967] Red Sox with unbridled enthusiasm that bridged the generation gap and drowned out a summer of dissent. The dominant sound in Boston that summer was neither the Beatles, the Beach Boys, nor chanting protesters but the voices of radio and television broadcasters Ken Coleman and Ned Martin. Every evening, from transistor radios on stoops and front porches, car radios on the street, and TVs blaring out apartment windows, they provided the story line of the summer." (Bronx Banter)

Incredibly Beautiful People (Part Three).
For the first time in over a decade fortune smiled on the Red Sox. On August 21, after power-hitting outfielder Ken Harrelson was quoted referring to A’s owner Charlie O. Finley as "a menace to baseball," Finley released him. The Red Sox were drawn into the first free agent bidding war in modern baseball history.

The ability to add a player of Harrelson’s ability so late in the season without giving up a player was a unique opportunity. Knowing he could prove the difference in the pennant race teams in both leagues scrambled after the slugger.

Harrelson quickly learned that patience was a virtue in such negotiations. He’d earned only $12,000 with the A’s in 1967. But as a free agent, his asking price started at $80,000. Within two days the Braves had upped the bid to $112,000.

Harrelson was ready to sign, but at the last moment Dick O'Connell called and asked simply "How much will it take?" Harrelson blurted out "$150,000." O’Connell replied "Deal." The player known as "the Hawk" was now a member of the Red Sox.
(Bronx Banter)

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