Purgatory Online

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Astros have reportedly made Carlos Beltran a 5-year, $70-million offer, which sounds like a pretty good starting point for negotiations - except that, as his former team, they only have until midnight tonight to sign him or lose negotiating rights until May 1 (ditto Clemens and Kent). Beltran, meanwhile, insists that he's waiting for the best deal to come along, meaning the Astros' offer is essentially a fig leaf so the team can tell the fans it made a reasonable offer without actually having to pony up the kind of contract they know Beltran will eventually sign (best guess: 8 years at $15 million per).

Once tonight's deadline expires, that will leave the Phillies, Orioles, Angels, Yankees, Mets, Mariners, and Cubs as the teams "actively" pursuing Beltran, with the Red Sox and maybe one or two others lurking in the shadows. The long-anticipated Moreno-Steinbrenner cash throwdown may soon be upon us.