According to Gordon Edes, the Red Sox have made an offer to third baseman Adrian Beltre, who is close to choosing a team to sign with.
Tim Brown of Yahoo reported earlier in the day that Beltre was close to choosing a team, with one choice on each coast. The Athletics had long been considered one of the teams most interested in Beltre, making them the most likely west coast contender. There were conflicting reports on whether the Red Sox were or were not in the race. If Edes is right about the offer, though, it seems likely that the Sox would be the east coast team involved.
Beltre would certainly fit the profile of what the Red Sox are attempting to accomplish this offseason, providing top defense at third base. Of concern are his offense, and injuries he received last season. Beltre has disappointed offensively since signing with the Mariners before the 2005 season, but has put up fair numbers when playing away from the offense-killing confines of Safeco.
Earlier in the offseason, Beltre--a Scott Boras client--was said to be looking for a long-term contract in excess of $10 million per year. No market developed for him near that price, however, so it is likely the terms of any contract would be significantly lower.
UPDATE [6:15 PM EST]: Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the A's are out of contention. If Tim Brown was right about it being between 2 teams, that would mean that it's either not the A's who were in (Angels? They have Brandon Wood waiting, but I wouldn't put it past them...), or that the east cost team is the "winner". If it's the latter, we should get word soon.
UPDATE [7:15 PM EST]: Jon Heyman says the Red Sox are now close to signing a deal with Adrian Beltre.
UPDATE [7:25 PM EST]: Tim Brown says they have reached an agreement. Popular opinion says it's a 2-year deal that Beltre can opt out of after 2010. 5 minutes later, he says they're still working on minor details.
UPDATE [7:35 PM EST]: Peter Gammons puts it at 1-year, $9 million with a $5 million player option. Cheap.
UPDATE [8:05 PM EST]: Peter Abraham says it's a done deal, and agrees with Gammons' numbers.