Does Beltre Have A Future in Boston?

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe today questioned the value of Boston Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre and should the team resign him. Based on his performance in 2010 the answer is of course the Sox should sign him to a new deal, Abraham agrees with that but based on prior performances he questions the size and length of the contract. And I’d have to agree with him questioning those.

Beltre is without a doubt having one of the best years of his life at the age of 31, he looks rejuvenated in Boston, he looks like his career is back on track. But you know what being a contract year I don’t put a lot of stock into that thou especially when you consider his past. His best season so far was in 2004 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, also a career year, that was his only year batting over .300 (.334), only year over 30 homers (48) and only season he drove in over 100 runs (121). His performances afterward were just that of an average power hitter. So yea, as you can see the guy performs when money is the line.

Could things be different in Boston? Actually they could. After Beltre’s career season he went to Seattle which is a pitchers park while Fenway Park is definitely designed for a player like Adrian. His harmless flies to left continually bounce off the Monster for easy doubles. He’s also got the advantage of being just another guy in on a star studded team, he no longer has the pressure of being the go to guy.

I’m more of a believer thou that players career norms say so much more then a change of scenery, especially when the huge numbers come during contract years. Over his career Beltre is a .274 hitter averaging 21 homers and 75 runs batted in a season. So does one really expect Beltre to bat almost .330 again or be at the 23 homer mark with 41 games to go? I surely don’t.

I would say thou if he stays in Boston, he could easily bat .280-285 with about 25 to 30 homers and that’s just because he plays 81 games a year at Fenway. If he went any where else I wouldn’t even expect that high of numbers next season.

So what salary can one expect from Beltre next season?

Abraham says “For me, I’d offer Beltre three years and $45 million and see what happens. But four for $60 million? Not sure I go there.”

Those dollar figures seem kind of high to me, especially when you consider Adrian’s last contract was five years at $64 million, which averages just about $13 million per season. In baseballs new age of fiscal responsibility when it comes to aging veterans, do you really think he can get a contract of $15 mil per year?

Even thou I think he’d be overpaid, I do believe he can get that high of a salary and the main reason is Boston’s lack of options at third base. There won’t be anything better in free agency and they have nothing to speak of in their minor league system. Abraham says “Red Sox do not have a third baseman in the minors who is remotely close to being ready for the majors. It’s a weak position in the upper levels of the system.”

I think the question for Theo Epstein this off season will be how long of a contract to offer, not the dollar figure. They have a need and he’s proven he can fill that need, so it would be good business to bring him back.

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The question for me thou is does Epstein play ball or play tough guy? Does he play ball and give an honest attempt to bring back a guy who clearly enjoys Boston and the fans like him back. Or does he play tough and risk the chance of losing one of the only bright spots on this years team.

If I was Theo, I’d play tough guy. I’d give Beltre his dollar amount, if he performs anywhere close to his 2010 numbers he’s without a doubt worth it. I’d try to keep the contract minimal in years thou, we all saw how he performed in Seattle after signing long term and like I said earlier I believe more in career norms then contract seasons.

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  1. I hope he stays just cause i love watching folks trying to rub his head

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