The Beltre talks, expected to resume after the New Year, have been complicated by the voiding of the Mike Lowell trade to Texas.
The Sox remain engaged in discussions on Beltre, who is represented by agent Scott Boras, even though his signing could put them over the luxury tax threshold. The market for Beltre seems to have collapsed somewhat, the Red Sox thinking that maybe they can get him at a much more reasonable price than Beltre was originally seeking. In mid-December, Beltre was believed to be looking for a five-year deal worth $13 million-$16 million per season.
Beltre, who is widely regarded as one of the best defensive third basemen in the majors, hit .265 with eight homers and 44 RBIs for the Seattle Mariners last season.
Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.