If Adrian Beltre goes to Rangers, Vladimir Guerrero could return to Angels
Adrian Beltre, according to numerous media reports, is closing in on a deal with the Texas Rangers, a move that would be a considerable blow to the Angels' playoff hopes and would greatly increase the chances of slugger Vladimir Guerrero returning to Anaheim.
After losing Carl Crawford to the Boston Red Sox, which signed the left fielder to a seven-year, $142-million deal during the winter meetings in early December, the Angels made a run at Beltre, offering the free-agent third baseman a five-year deal for at least $70 million.
But the Angels pulled their offer to Beltre before Christmas, and owner Arte Moreno made it clear at the time that the team would not increase what it felt was a very competitive offer. Beltre's deal with the Rangers will reportedly be for five or six years and between $90 million and $100 million.
Beltre, who hit .321 with 28 home runs, 49 doubles and 102 runs batted in for the Boston Red Sox last season, would have bolstered a position that was essentially a black hole for the Angels in 2010.
Their third basemen combined to hit .233 (ranking 29th among 30 major league teams) with a .266 on-base percentage (29th), a .307 slugging percentage (30th), eight home runs (29th) and 52 RBIs (30th) last season.
But the Angels could still add some pop to their offense by signing Guerrero, who spent six years (2004-2009) as the team's cleanup hitter, earning 2004 American League most valuable player honors, before signing with the Rangers last winter.
Guerrero, limited to 100 games by injuries in 2009, his last year with the Angels, remained sound all season for the Rangers, batting .300 with 29 homers and 115 RBIs to help Texas reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
All four AL West teams have shown interest in Guerrero, who turns 36 in February, but Oakland signed Hideki Matsui to be its DH, and if Beltre completes his deal with Texas, the Rangers are expected to move third baseman Michael Young to DH, eliminating the need for Guerrero.
Guerrero would prefer to play for a contender, which will likely eliminate the Mariners, and he reportedly is willing to sign a one-year deal, which would be attractive to the Angels, who could probably secure Guerrero for about $7 million.
-- Mike DiGiovanna
Photo: Vladimir Guerrero. Credit: Elsa / Getty Images.