We're busy putting together the 2011 edition of the Rotoworld Draft Guide and magazine, but it's probably about time we checked in on some of the bigger storylines from around the league here in column form.The Rangers May Be Closing In On Beltre
The hot stove is set to WARM at this point and the free agents that remain unsigned are mostly of the scrap heap variety. But there are some exceptions.Adrian Beltre
batted .321/.365/.553 with 28 home runs and 102 RBI in 2010 for the Red Sox while playing his typical brand of excellent defense at the hot corner, and yet he is still without a team because of an asking price that is believed to be in the $85 million range. That could change soon. Not the asking price, but the teamless part.
Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes heard from a source Monday
that the Rangers and Beltre were nearing agreement on a massive contract. That was shot down later by MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan
, but it's quite apparent that the two sides are talking and Beltre isn't going to feel comfortable hanging on much longer without a team to call his own.
The Angels, right now, appear to the Rangers' only competition. The Athletics dropped out a few weeks back because Beltre disapproved of their seemingly generous five-year, $64 million proposal.
If Texas does indeed lock up Beltre, the defense on the left side of their infield will be spectacular. Elvis Andrus
is already a talented defender at shortstop and Beltre is one of the best defensive third basemen in the game.
Oh, and the 31-year-old Beltre has already proven the kind of offensive numbers that he is capable of in a cozier ballpark. The Rangers' homer-happy stadium tends to bring out the best in power hitters of all types. It's a marriage that could work really, really well if GM Jon Daniels decides to go all in. He should have plenty of expendable cash laying around from the club's failed pursuit of left-hander Cliff Lee
, who wound up signing with the Phillies.CarGo To Make A Permanent Home In The Rockies?
The Rockies took some heat earlier this winter for signing shortstop Troy Tulowitzki
to a hearty six-year extension worth $119 million.
Tulo was coming off a career year that saw him blast 27 home runs against a .315/.381/.568 batting line and opponents of the new contract argued that the Rox were crazy for negotiating such lofty terms in a situation where the player had all the leverage.
The Rockies must have brushed that criticism aside, because they're about to do the same exact thing with dynamic 25-year-old outfielder Carlos Gonzalez
CarGo, as they call him out in Denver, posted a sparkling 974 OPS, 34 home runs and 117 RBI last season for the Rockies, batting .336/.376/.598 along the way and picking up a couple of MVP votes. He also won a Gold Glove for his fine play in the outfield.
Now the Rockies are about to hand him a shiny new seven-year, $80 million deal, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post
Both Tulo and CarGo look to be sure-thing perennial All-Stars, but how many times has that been said about others and how many times have those others flopped? There's a good chance that everything will work out just fine and the Rockies may well win the National League West crown every season through 2017. But paying out big money before that money is due is most certainly a risky tactic. Both youngsters were still a couple of years from free agency.Simon Says: "It Was An Accident, He Was My Friend."
Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon
appears to be in serious trouble back in the Dominican Republic, his native country.
According to reports, the right-hander turned himself into authorities this morning and admitted to the shooting of a firearm that caused the death of 25-year-old Michel Esteban Castillo. He's claiming that it was all an accident and that Castillo was his longtime friend, but that doesn't change the fact that a man is dead and that his younger brother, Starlin Castillo, is also gravely injured because of Simon's gunfire.
There aren't many English language publications tracking the story, but rough translations of Spanish-based reports have pretty much painted the scene.
Simon was shooting off a gun in celebration of the new year late Friday night. Some of the stray bullets, shot either directly up in the air or at an unfortunate angle, struck Castillo and his brother and now the elder Castillo is dead.
Authorities have requested that Simon be held for three months to a year as the case is investigated as thoroughly as possible. Whatever happens, it seems highly unlikely that he will be in Orioles camp come spring. The 29-year-old faces a penalty of up to 30 years in jail if proven guilty and convicted.