Beltre nearing agreement with Rangers

Posted Jan. 04, 2011, at 6:15 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 04, 2011, at 10:39 p.m.

All-Star third baseman Adrian Beltre and the AL champion Texas Rangers are nearing agreement on a contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an agreement with Texas had not been completed.

“We’ve still got some central issues to resolve. Not done yet,” the person said, without getting into specifics.

Beltre became a free agent after turning down a $10 million player option to stay with Boston.

A two-time Gold Glove winner, Beltre hit .321 with 49 doubles, 28 homers and 102 RBIs in 154 games in his only season with Red Sox. He was an All-Star for the first time in his 13-season career.

The Rangers were spurned in their attempt this offseason to keep Cliff Lee, even after offering the ace lefthander $138 million over six years. Lee instead returned to Philadelphia.

Beltre, who will turn 32 the first week of the regular season, is a .275 hitter in 1,835 career games for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-04), Seattle (2005-09) and Boston.

Los Angeles signed Beltre as a 15-year-old in 1994, and he made his major league debut with the Dodgers four years later. After hitting .334 with 48 homers and 121 RBIs in his final season with the Dodgers in 2004, Beltre went to the Mariners.

The acquisition of Beltre would mean yet another position switch for Rangers career hits leader Michael Young, the team’s longest tenured player going into his 11th season.

Young this week publicly expressed his willingness to switch again if Texas got Beltre. Young, who has three years left on his contract, could become a primary designated hitter also playing a utility role.

Young was a second baseman when he became a starter for Texas in 2001, then switched to shortstop after Alex Rodriguez was traded in the spring of 2004. The Rangers moved Young to third base two years ago when they decided to promote rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus from Double-A.

MLB NOTES: The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $10 million, two-year contract with right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The deal is subject to Gregg passing a physical, the person said Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not yet final.

The 32-year-old Gregg went 2-6 with a 3.51 ERA and 37 saves with the Toronto Blue Jays last season. He is expected to compete with Koji Uehara for the job as Baltimore’s closer.

Gregg will fortify the back end of a bullpen that last month lost setup man David Hernandez, who was traded to Arizona last month. The Orioles are also uncertain about the status of Alfredo Simon, who faces involuntary manslaughter charges in the Dominican Republic.

Baltimore will be Gregg’s fourth team, following the Angels, Florida and the Chicago Cubs. He is 25-33 with 122 saves in 150 opportunities over eight seasons.

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