McAdam at the GM Meetings: Market prices rising


McAdam at the GM Meetings: Market prices rising

By Sean McAdam

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein noted Tuesday that deals in baseball don't happen in a vacuum and that what one team does (or offers) can impact every other.

It's basic supply and demand.

Then, as if on cue, one deal and one reported offer hit home for the Red Sox Wednesday.

First, the Detroit Tigers signed set-up reliever Joaquin Benoit to a three-year, 16.5 million deal, seemingly setting the bar high for the crowd of bullpen candidates the Red Sox have been eying.

After Benoit's deal, Scott Downs, Jason Frasor and others will be looking for more than they might have initially.

That likely means that the Sox will wait a bit, since Benoit's deal is likely to up the asking price for relievers in the same category.

''Every signing that comes up that's probably higher than anticipated,'' said Epstein, ''just means most clubs . . . will wait.''

Secondly, ESPNDeportes reported that the Oakland A's offered free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre a five-year, 65 million deal. Beltre's agent, Scott Boras, continued to tell some here that Beltre might eventually land a five-year, 85 million deal.

Oakland's emergence as a major player in the Beltre Sweepstakes should not come as a surprise. Last year, the A's offered Beltre more than the Red Sox -- reportedly a three-year deal worth approximately 30 million -- but Beltre ultimately chose the Sox over the A's in an effort to rebuild his value.

Also, general manager Billy Beane has lots of money coming off the books this winter, with deals for Eric Chavez, Ben Sheets and others freeing up about 30 million.

Beltre, who lives on the West Coast in the offseason and played his first 11 years in the big leagues there (first Los Angeles, then Seattle), would reportedly like to play closer to home.

But Oakland-Alameda County Stadium is one of the worst hitter's ballparks in the majors and the atmosphere is probably the worst in the American League. Also, though the A's boast a promising young pitching staff, their prospects for winning the division and leapfrogging over both Texas -- the defending A.L. champs -- and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- intent on improving by making at least one big splash in free agency -- would seem weak.

It's highly unlikely the Red Sox would go to five years for Beltre, who has been inconsistent over his career. Moreover, the way the long-term deal given to Mike Lowell sputtered over the final year-and-a-half will give them additional pause. Lowell was 33 when he signed that deal following the 2007 season; Beltre will turn 32 next spring.

If Beltre wants a five-year deal and is intent on playing for a West Coast team, it's hard to see where he might find other offers. The Angels,who might otherwise make some sense, are said to be entirely focused on outfielder Carl Crawford and it's doubtful they would be willing to give two deals of five years (or in Crawford's case, longer) in the same offseason.

The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers can't afford Beltre, and the San Francisco Giants want to get Pablo Sandoval back in shape to man third base.

That leaves only Seattle, and it's unlikely that Beltre or the Mariners would want to renew a relationship that worked for neither over five seasons.

Meanwhile, although a more likely scenario should the Sox need to replace Beltre at third would be to move Kevin Youkilis back there and find a first baseman elsewhere, Epstein opened the door to the possibility of Jed Lowrie taking over at third.

"He's a really good third baseman,'' Epstein said of Lowrie. "I think he's better at third than he is at second. He's got tremendous range. He looks natural over there and his arm really plays well at third. He makes all the plays at the limits of his range, maybe more so than he does in the middle of the infield at shortstop or second base.

"Again, Beltre is our first choice at third. Youkilis is a solid option if there's a first baseman that fits for us and then Lowrie falls into the category we discussed Tuesday -- one of the not fully-proven younger players who really like and can build value and we're going to count on one position or another moving forward.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic


Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic


Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.