By Sean McAdam
Here is a look at the Red Sox' options at third base. See links at the bottom of the story for an analysis of other positions.
Beltre worked out better than the Red Sox expected after signing a one year, make-good deal last winter. He provided superb -- though occasionally erratic -- defense at third and led the team in RBI. But since Adrian Beltre re-established his market value, he's put himself in position to land another multiyear deal for four or maybe five years.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are thought to be Beltre's most obvious landing spot, though such a scenario would involve owner Arte Moreno dropping his objection to signing any Scott Boras clients after the Mark Teixeira negotiations left him with a sour taste. (Sound familiar?)
The Sox would like Beltre back, but, having just finished a long-term deal for a mid-30s third baseman (Mike Lowell) that went sour toward the end, aren't interested in locking themselves into anything longer than three or -- maybe -- four years.
FREE AGENT TARGETSUnfortunately for the Red Sox, there is very little in the way of quality third basemen on this market. Of the few out there, only Jhonny Peralta or Miguel Tejada have much in the way of value.
That means the Sox will probably have to trade for a third-base replacement or, far more likely, move Youkilis back to third and choose from a far deeper field of first-base candidates.
OUTFIELD---> Will the Red Sox be willing to spend on the bigguns?
THIRDBASE ---> How will Theo Epstein deal with a thinmarket?
FIRSTBASE ---> Could a former Sox slugger be the answer in2011?
CATCHER---> Is there a bargain backstop to be had on thecheap?
BULLPEN---> Which relievers could be headed toBoston?