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Is Adrian Belte worth eight figures a year?

Dec 4, 2009, 12:40 PM EDT

A lot of us have been giving the Phillies crap for going in at $6 million a year over three years for Polanco, citing Adrian Beltre as a younger, better option.  According to Buster Olney, however, Beltre’s asking prince is $10 million per, and you’d have to figure that starts at three years.

Yes, Beltre is better, but is he that much better?  Dude only gets on base at a just-above-.300 clip and his power evaporated last year. You’d figure some of that would rebound in a more hitter-friendly park in the less competitive league, but so much so that you’d pay him $10 million? If all things are equal, I take Beltre over Polanco. But things don’t appear to be equal.

At least not right now. Let’s check in with Beltre in a month and see how many $10 million offers he’s fielding.

  1. Megary - Dec 4, 2009 at 12:50 PM

    Thank you.
    I’d take Polanco at 18/3 over Beltre at 40/4 or 30/3 all the live long day. (Heh, heh…assuming they use that other $$ wisely)
    Then again, if this plays out the same as the whole Burrell/Ibanez/Abreu circus as last year, maybe waiting until the end will get you the best deal.

  2. Mark Armour - Dec 4, 2009 at 12:59 PM

    Craig: It is called DEFENSE. Beltre might be 25 runs better right there.

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Dec 4, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    Are two and a half wins worth $4 million? I’m not being cute. I really don’t know, though I suspect that’s high.

  4. Levi Stahl - Dec 4, 2009 at 1:25 PM

    I don’t know that it’s still the case, but I remember MGL’s numbers a few years ago pegging each marginal win at $2 million on the free agent market, so yes, two-and-a-half wins would be worth $4 plus some.

  5. Andrew - Dec 4, 2009 at 1:35 PM

    Its called defense? really? Palanco won a Gold Glove last season. Granted it was at second base but he has played third before and is a smart player.

  6. themarksmith - Dec 4, 2009 at 1:38 PM

    Polanco has been worth 3 wins the past 2 seasons and 5 the year before that. Beltre was only worth 2.5 wins this past season, but has been worth about 4 wins over the 3 years previous (one wasn’t, but he was somehow a negative on defense that season). So, we could say Beltre is the better player by 1 win. But contracts also try to value what the player will do. Polanco has benefitted from playing a more valuable position (increasing his defensive value) in 2B that he won’t be playing this upcoming season. Then, Beltre is 3 years younger and an established defensive savant at third. As for the power, his HR/FB rate was 5.6% as opposed to a career 13.1%. Why did that happen? If it was the shoulder, I’d make as sure the medicals look okay, but otherwise, I’d assume he’ll rebound offensively. If that happens, my guess is that he’s worth 4 wins with Polanco worth about 2.5. If I were a betting man, I would think Beltre would at least maintain his value while Polanco has a decent chance of falling off a win or two. Who would you rather have? And I’d probably pay a bit more for him than Polanco, but I’d be a bit surprised if Beltre got more than 3/24-27. Still a bit more than Polanco, but I’m guessing he’d be worth every penny.

  7. Joey B - Dec 4, 2009 at 1:43 PM

    In the three years preceding 2009, Beltre’s OPS ranged from .784 to .802, so I’m thinking that last year was an aberration. I’m also guessing from his H/A splits that he should also get some pickup from moving to a new park. He’s also a bit younger than either Polanco or Scutaro. The $10M is just a number floated by his agent. I think $24M/3 is more reasonable, maybe with a vesting option for Y4, and I think he’ll provide good value in a unnoticed way.

  8. Bill@TDS - Dec 4, 2009 at 1:46 PM

    I’d give Beltre $20 for 2 long before I’d give Polanceo $18 for 3. It’s a closer call at 3 years, but I’d probably still take Beltre. If anybody gives him $40 for 4, though, I really hope it’s that one team I don’t like.

  9. Mark Armour - Dec 4, 2009 at 1:50 PM

    Fangraphs suggests that, mostly because of defense, Beltre is worth as much as 18M a year. Here is something they wrote a year ago:
    I suspect he will be underrated by the market, but still get over 10M. The Red Sox will pay that, for one. Assuming his testicles are recovered, of course.

  10. Sundance - Dec 4, 2009 at 8:26 PM

    We really don’t know what either one of them are going to do next year, both getting old. However, it seems to me you have suggested paying some aging pitchers with ERAs close to 4 or higher 10 mill or more. I believe in this years free agent market the greater risk would be to pay to much for a free agent pitcher.

  11. BillyBob - Dec 4, 2009 at 8:42 PM

    Paying John Lackey $102 million over 6 years would seem to be the bigger gamble. He has won 102 games over the last 8 seasons for a less than 12.5 games won per year average. Along with a lifetime ERA of 3.81 this seems like overpay.

  12. Butch - Dec 5, 2009 at 12:35 AM

    Considering what Chone Figgens just signed for Beltre would be a bargain for 30 mill over 3 years.

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