Boston already hot on Lowell's replacement
The Red Sox's trade of Mike Lowell to the Rangers wasn't even official yet, but the Boston Herald, citing "multiple sources," reported that "it increasingly appears that [the Red Sox are] preparing to make a serious run" at third baseman Adrian Beltre. The two-time Gold Glove Award winner, who is a Type B free agent and declined the Mariners' arbitration offer, is believed to have an initial asking price of $65 million over five years, which would be a $1 million raise on the deal he signed with Seattle in 2004. The Herald wrote, however, that $10 million annually is a bit more realistic, considering the 30-year-old -- who will turn 31 in April -- played in just 111 games and hit only eight home runs this past season. While playing solid defense at the hot corner, Beltre averaged 24 homers and 84 RBIs with a .273 batting average from 1999-2008 -- including a breakout 48-homer, 121-RBI season with the Dodgers in '04.
As MLB.com's Ian Browne writes, the Red Sox have versatility at the corner-infield spots because of Kevin Youkilis' ability to play first and third base, and other options include Nick Johnson, Adam LaRoche, Mark DeRosa and Casey Kotchman.
Cardinals extend offer to Holliday
The line in the sand has been drawn. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak told ESPN 101 in St. Louis that his club has extended a formal offer to free-agent outfielder Matt Holliday. Mozeliak didn't get into actual terms of the deal, but he did say he expects to get an answer from Holliday's agent, Scott Boras, within the next 48 hours. So things could get interesting rather quick.
If Holliday accepts, it could greatly heat up the market for the other prized free-agent left fielder, Jason Bay. If he doesn't, then the Cardinals -- who have not set a deadline on how long they would wait -- may be forced to start thinking about a Plan B. Mark DeRosa has been considered that Plan B, but Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the club has not extended multi-year offers to anyone besides Holliday.
Mozeliak also told the radio station he hasn't heard of other teams being involved for Holliday at the moment, and when asked on the show how long he can afford to wait on him before moving on, the GM said he'd "have a real good sense of that by [the] middle of next week."
Jays know what they want from Yanks for Halladay
ESPN.com confirmed that if the Yankees want to trade for the Blue Jays' Roy Halladay, new general manager Alex Anthopoulos is requesting that New York structure a deal around either Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, plus add Jesus Montero and others. MLB.com's Bryan Hoch says that proposal is "too rich for the Yankees to stomach at this moment." There are questions as to whether Montero is ready to be a big league catcher, but MLB.com has reported that the Blue Jays are enamored by the 20-year-old's power bat. Yankees GM Brian Cashman stated he's aware of the request for talent on the pitching front and said he's "hesitant to move certain young players because of what they can do for us in the future." But he also said: "For the right player, I'll move anybody." Whether Halladay is that "right player" remains in question.
Yankees, Damon far away
It's still early in the negotiating process, but at least $20 million stand between the Yankees and Boras, also Johnny Damon's agent, according to FOXSports.com. The Web site, citing unnamed sources, reported that the 36-year-old Damon wants a three-year, $39 million or four-year, $52 million deal. New York, however, is willing to give Damon no more than what the Angels gave outfielder Bobby Abreu this offseason -- two years at $19 million. FOXSports.com added that the question will be whether another club will give Damon the contract he wants because the Yankees "almost certainly will not."
White Sox sign Putz
After actively pursuing him during the Winter Meetings, the White Sox signed J.J. Putz to a one-year, $3 million contract the day after finishing up in Indianapolis. The 32-year-old right-hander went 1-4 with a 5.22 ERA in 29 games for the Mets last season, then had arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow on June 9 and missed the remainder of the year. His addition can give the White Sox another nice setup option along with lefty Matt Thornton, or perhaps even make closer Bobby Jenks expendable.
Giants warming up to Uggla?
FOXSports.com cited a Major League source in reporting that the Giants' trade discussions for Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla are getting "warmer," and dialogue between the two clubs continues, though they have yet to agree on names. The Orioles are also said to be pursuing Uggla. The two-time All-Star has expressed through his agent that he would prefer to stay at second base, something he'd probably be able to do if he goes to the Giants -- since they'd likely move Freddy Sanchez to third base -- but not with Baltimore, where Brian Roberts is entrenched at second.
Meanwhile, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reported via Twitter that although there is a "general feeling" Uggla will wind up with the Giants, nothing is expected before Saturday night's deadline for clubs to tender contracts. The low-payroll Marlins are expected to offer a contract to Uggla, who could make about $8 million through arbitration.
Iannetta signs with Rockies; Torrealba pending
The Rockies agreed on a three-year, $8.3 million deal with catcher Chris Iannetta, according to the Denver Post. The deal also includes a $5 million option what would be his first year of free-agent eligibility. Iannetta will compete for a starting job behind the plate next season, but whether that's with Yorvit Torrealba remains in question. The Post added that Torrealba is seeking a two-year, $6 million deal -- the same amount Ivan Rodriguez got from the Nationals -- but the Rockies have offered $5.6 million in a two-year deal. The newspaper wrote that both sides have talked "optimistically" about an agreement being reached. If it doesn't work out, however, Torrealba has the Mets and Giants as reportedly interested parties, and the Rockies could turn their attention to Miguel Olivo.
Royals sign C Kendall to two-year deal
After targeting him over the last few days, the Royals reached agreement on a two-year contract with veteran catcher Jason Kendall on Friday. Kendall, 35, steps in as Kansas City's frontline guy behind the plate, since the club declined its option on Miguel Olivo and John Buck is viewed as a likely non-tender candidate. Brayan Pena will likely serve as Kendall's backup.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.