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Oakland Athletics Offseason: Red Sox Reportedly Trade For Adrian Gonzalez; Adrian Beltre Leaving Town?

Even as rumors were flying that the Oakland Athletics had made a huge offer to Adrian Beltre, the Red Sox 2010 third baseman indicated he strongly preferred staying with the Boston Red Sox:

“These guys are my friends and they made me feel part of the team,’’ he said. “There’s a lot going on right now, but I do hope I stay with the Red Sox.’’

“I could make a deal right now if I wanted to,’’ he said. “But I want to wait and make sure I make the right decision.’’

Beltre would not go into specifics about his choices beyond saying that his preference would be Boston.

“I got used to seeing that park full in the first inning and still full in the ninth inning. I liked that atmosphere,’’ he said. “If everything was close to the same, I would go back to Boston. But we have to see. The number of years is what is important to me.’’

Buster Olney is now breaking news that would seem to indicate the Red Sox are not prepared to meet Beltre’s contract request and are moving on. Olney is reporting that the Red Sox have agreed to deal three prospects and a player to be named later to the Padres for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Assuming this deal is completed as expected, the Red Sox would have the option of moving current 1B Kevin Youkilis to 3B or the outfield. Olney indicated the Red Sox were more inclined to move Youk to third base. If that’s the case, there’s no way they re-sign Adrian Beltre.

If this is the case, then Adrian Beltre will indeed have to look to other suitors. And as Athletics Nation wrote, that might mean the A’s will need to loosen the purse strings just a little bit. They’ll have some competition for Beltre but they do have some money to spend, particularly if they don’t get a deal done with Hisashi Iwakuma.

Beltre would add some pop to the A’s lineup and would be an upgrade over Kevin Kouzmanoff. However, one has to wonder if he’s worth the 10+ million a year it appears that it will cost to sign him. He’s coming off a huge season, but he’s shown in the past that his biggest years have come with money on the line. The two best lines of his career were last year at .321/.365/.553 and his last year with the Dodgers in 2004 at .334/.388/.629. With OPS’ of .919 and 1.017 in those seasons, his next closest OPS was .835 in 2000 and .802 in 2007. Not exactly inspiring numbers from a guy you’re considering paying a ton of money.