In the end, the Red Sox weren’t about to go into the 2010 season with all-glove Casey Kotchman or aging Mike Lowell in the starting lineup.
Boston has reportedly agreed to a one-year, $9 million deal with free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. The contract includes a player option for the 2011 season.
The pending acquisition likely means the end of Lowell’s tenure with the Sox, though it’s unclear whether the team will be able to get much of a return for the injury-plagued 35-year-old. Boston had agreed to trade Lowell to the Rangers last month, but the deal was called off after a physical revealed the third baseman needed thumb surgery.
The Sox have reportedly talked to the Mets about flipping Lowell for infielder Luis Castillo.
Had Lowell been traded without a replacement in place, Kotchman would have started the season at first, with Kevin Youkilis moving across the diamond. Instead, the Sox reportedly already have an agreement in place to trade Kotchman to the Mariners for spare parts — potentially including former star and current utilityman Bill Hall.
Beltre, 30, batted .265 with a .304 on-base percentage, eight home runs and 44 RBIs in 111 games for Seattle last year. His numbers decreased markedly after moving from the Dodgers to the Mariners following the 2004 season: Beltre finished second in NL MVP voting in his last year in Los Angeles, batting .334 with 48 homers.
The Dominican Republic native is expected to take a physical in Boston this week.