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Report: Athletics Could Sign Adrian Beltre As Soon As Tonight

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According to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (via insider), the Oakland Athletics are closing in on former Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre and could sign him as early as tonight.

There have been conflicting reports about Beltre and the A's as they were at one point rumored to have offered the third baseman a 5-year contract worth around 64 million dollars. However, A's GM Billy Beane later said that this offer was "news to him" when asked about it.

Now it appears that the A's could be on the verge of signing Beltre as they have been looking for a quick replacement for Kevin Kouzmanoff and Edwin Encarnacion before tonight's deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Kouzmanoff's name has been bounced around in trade rumors while Encarnacion is a non-tender candidate. The Angels have also expressed interest in the 31-year-old third baseman, and Beltre has said that he would prefer to play on the west coast, close to his California home.

If Beltre chooses to walk, this will free up money for the Red Sox to throw at Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth, whom the Sox have "serious" interest in. Boston met with Scott Boras late last night to discuss both Beltre and Werth. The front office also met with Crawford yesterday, leaving him "very, very impressed" with Theo Epstein and company.

Without Beltre, the door also opens back up on a possible Adrian Gonzalez trade, with Kevin Youkilis likely shifting to third base to open up first for Gonzo. They also have kicked around starting Jed Lowrie at third base, however he could end up with the starting shortstop job depending on whether or not Marco Scutaro is traded.

Either way, it appears that Beltre's one season in Boston could be his last.