12.24.04

Astros, Yanks Vie For Beltran

Posted in Baseball at 6:42 pm by

From The New York Daily News’ Sam Borden.

After touring the Florida homes of the Yankees and Astros this week, Carlos Beltran returned to his own house in Puerto Rico with an upgraded offer from Houston in his pocket, reportedly a six-year deal worth as much as $16 million a season.

And that’s only the beginning.

The Astros are intent on doing everything they can to keep Beltran, and while Houston owner Drayton McLane denied to MLB.com the Astros had made that big of an offer, GM Tim Purpura told the Daily News yesterday that regardless of the current offer, Houston has not yet reached its financial ceiling.

“There’s always ranges in these things,” Purpura said. “We negotiate close to our range, but there is always room to keep going. You’re not going to put out one or two offers and that’s it. You have to get some feedback from the agent, talk about the parameters, see what else can be done to alter an offer if you have to do that.”

Beltran is the Bombers’ top priority among position players this winter, but McLane is determined to fight hard to keep the 28-year-old switch-hitter in Houston.

Purpura hesitated to rank Houston’s offseason priorities, but placed Beltran at the top along with bringing back Roger Clemens and locking up Lance Berkman.

Along those lines, the Astros are pushing for a quick resolution on Beltran, though that seems unlikely. Scott Boras, Beltran’s agent, is known for dragging negotiations out, but the last day the Astros are allowed to negotiate with the center fielder is Jan. 8, and he’s expected to make a decision just before then.

“I expect some resolution with us in the next two weeks,” Purpura said, noting that it will take a few days to actually hammer out the language on any deal of such magnitude.

McLane’s presentation to Beltran on Wednesday in Kissimmee included a highlight video, letters from several of the city’s civic leaders and a book laying out the benefits of living in Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle.

I think the book was probably overkill. How about just reminding Beltran that he’ll no longer have to share the locker room or travel in the company of Jeff Kent? That would speak volumes about the quality of life in Houston.

Former Angels SS David Eckstein, recently displaced by Orlando Cabrera in Anaheim, signed a 3 year, $10.25 with St. Louis yesterday. Eckstein led all major league shortstops last season with a fielding percentage of .988, and was also terribly effective in the motion picture, “Powder”.

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