01/08/2005: Down to the wire....
According to Lee Sinins in today's email newsletter, the Houston Astros have until midnight tonight to come to terms with free-agent centerfielder Carlos "The hottest thing in centerfield since 'The Say Hey Kid'" Beltran or lose all rights to negotiate with him until May 1. Like Beltran is going to be available on May 1 to negotiate with? Riiiiiiiiiiigggggggghhhhhtttttttt...... If you're interested, Sinins provides a list of other free agents in that situation as well.
UPDATE 1/9/05: The 'stros missed the deadline. The two most salient effects of that are 1) the likelihood of Carlos Beltran terrorizing the NL Central next season is pretty much zip, and 2) the likelihood of Roger Clemens delaying retirement for another year to pitch for Houston has moved from slimmer-than-slim to just about none (at least according to the sources I've read).
In other MLB personnel moves of interest, Sinins notes that apparently Miguel Cairo won't have to change summer residence; Miguel will (conditional on passing a physical) be moving only from the Bronx to Flushing Meadows, as he signed a deal with the New York Mets (1 year, $900,000). Miguel used to play for the Cardinals (part of 2001, and all of the 2002-3 seasons), and his name was being bandied about as a possible replacement for Tony Womack at second base until the Cards signed Mark Grudzielanek (holy crap, I got that right!) to fill that position.
Len on 01.08.05 @ 10:31 AM CST