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The deadline for the Astros to re-sign Carlos Beltran just passed at 12:00 a.m. EST. None of the major news outlets are reporting that Beltran has signed, so unless the signing happened at the very last minute, it looks like Beltran will not be returning to Houston.
As far as I am concerned, this is great news. Unless the Yankees decide to enter the bidding, I think the Cubs might have an inside track if Beltran decides to go with a winning team. The three teams that have publicly made offers to Beltran are the 'stros, Mets, and Cubs... and if I'm Beltran, and I want to win, I'd pick the team with the best starting rotation and core of young players... and that would be the Cubs.
A word of caution: Beltran may have signed with the Astros, and just not announced it yet. Word of the Nomar trade took about 55 minutes to be announced, so the deadline passed without an announcement. However, I am guessing that an announcement would have been made right away, so my guess is that Beltran won't be an Astro next year!
Updates will follow if anything new happens.
Update: 12:15 A.M. EST
Sportsline.com has a short paragraph up stating that Beltran "declines to re-sign with the Astros by Saturday's midnight ET deadline, which is good news for the Mets and other suitors. Houston can still ink the All-Star outfielder, but not until May 1 ... nearly a month after the 2005 season starts."
Update: 12:32 A.M. EST
ESPN.com is running a story saying that Beltran has decided not to sign with the Astros.
"The Astros failed to reach an agreement with the All-Star center fielder before a midnight ET Saturday deadline, and now Beltran probably will leave the team he helped come within a win of its first World Series appearance."
What does this mean? It means either Beltran isn't happy with only $105 million from the Astros and thinks he can drive up the price signficantly more over the next month and a half... or the rumors that Beltran's wife didn't like Houston had a little substance.
Update 12:48 A.M. EST
ESPN news just announced that the Houston Chronicle is reporting that Beltran will be signing with the New York Mets. Hot Diggity!
Update 12:52 A.M. EST
Here is the link to the Houston Chronicle article announcing Beltran will sign with the Mets.
|Excerpt from: He's gone: Astros fail to reach deal with Beltran|
All-Star center fielder to sign with Mets
By Jose De Jesus Ortiz, Houston Chronicle, Jan 8, 2005
Despite a record contract offer from the Astros, free agent Carlos Beltran will not play for the team next season.
Beltran, the 27-year-old center fielder who helped the Astros to their first playoff series win and captivated the city's baseball fans with his amazing array of skills, chose not to accept the biggest contract in Astros history just a few minutes before an 11 p.m. deadline Saturday night.
Beltran will instead sign with the New York Mets.
"It slipped through our fingers in the last, last few minutes," Astros owner Drayton McLane said. "It was just some sticking point. It should never, never have gotten to this."
Update: 2:07 A.M. EST
One last update before bed. This article is compliments of 'Joel' who posted this link in the comments (#43) at TCR.
|Excerpt from: Mets close in on Beltran|
By Jon Heyman, Newsday.com, Jan 9, 2005
The Mets appeared to be closing in on a deal to sign star centerfielder Carlos Beltran early this morning to make him their centerpiece player.
The Mets and Beltran were said to be "only four or five million dollars part'' in discussions that could put Beltran in a Met uniform for seven years. It is believed the Mets deal could be worth between $115 million and $119 million.
The Astros bid where few thought they would go to try to beat the large-market teams that vied for Beltran's services. It is believed they bid at least $105 million over seven years.
Astros owner Drayton McLane aggressively pursued Beltran all winter. McLane made it a personal goal to keep Beltran, who excited Astros fans with a monster postseason performance that brought them within one game of their first World Series. Most people never believed Houston would surpass the $100-million mark but it did in the final days, giving itself a fighting chance.
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