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UPDATE: Beltre’s deal with the Rangers: six-years, $96 million

Jan 4, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT

Adrian Beltre

UPDATE:  T.R. Sullivan fills in the details of the Adrian Beltre-Rangers deal:

The Rangers still have work to do before they finalize an agreement with free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. But the deal is far enough along, according to sources, that it would be worth $96 million over six years.

It would also include a clause that would allow the Rangers to void the sixth year if Beltre doesn’t reach a certain amount of plate appearances.

Let’s just call it a reverse-vest then, shall we?  And let us all agree to meet in this comments thread in 2015 to discuss the ethics of benching a healthy-but-unproductive guy in the interests of triggering a voiding clause.

11:39 AMJon Heyman and Tim Brown are each reporting that the Rangers and Adrian Beltre are close to a deal. Heyman has the details, naturally: six years and between $90 and $100 million. Brown says the deal could be finalized today.

Heyman also makes an apt observation when he notes that the Angels appear to be in hibernation.  What happened to them?  Were they lying when they said they were going to be aggressive this offseason, or did they simply so totally misread the market that they’ve been paralyzed into inaction.

All I know is that the Athletics and the Rangers have each gotten better this winter while they’ve done nothing.  From a distance, it appears that they are utterly abdicating the AL West chase.

  1. uyf1950 - Jan 4, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    If this article is correct I find the Rangers position very confusing. Wasn’t it Nolan Ryan who stated he was not in favor of “long term” contracts to players. Also he and the Rangers balked at going 6 years in their negotiations with Lee. Both Lee and Beltre are very close to the same age. A six year deal to Beltre will put him on the wrong side of 35 for the last 3 years of a contract.
    The offer is also confusing (if true) because there doesn’t seem to be any other team that was willing to sign Beltre for either that many years or that many dollars. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Charles Gates - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:16 PM

      Beltre Lee, pitchers attrite (get hurt) at a higher rate than hitters. Therefore a long term guaranteed contract has more inherent risk.

      As for your second point, it does seem as if the Rangers are bidding against themselves here.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:01 PM

        I don’t disagree with you about the greater risk of injury to a pitcher versus a position player. But, don’t you think the Rangers will find them selves in 3 years in the same position with Beltre as they find themselves in with young? An aging 3rd baseman whose skills are on the decline with a contract they can’t move. There is a reason they call 3rd base the “hot corner”.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:17 PM

        Yes, Beltre will likely decline as he gets older, but when you adjust for the parks they’ve hit in, Beltre is a MUCH better hitter than Young ever was. And, of course, Beltre’s the far far better fielder; Young’s glove has gone from adequate to terrible. So there’s a big difference on where they’re declining FROM, and I’m pretty sure that in the last guaranteed year Beltre will be at worst an average third baseman.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:57 PM

        To Ari – I’ll take your word for it about the park adjustments but since Young has spent his entire career in Texas and most of it at SS (which I believe requires a player to be more athletic) posters are acting as if Young is terrible. I just don’t think that’s the case, and his career offensive stats versus Belte’s would seem to support my position.
        Young: Career Offensive Stats: .300 BA ; .347 OBP ; .448 SLG ; .795 OPS
        Beltre: Career Offensive Stats: .275 BA ; .328 OBP ; .452 SLG ; .791 OPS
        I’m not saying that for the next 2 or 3 years Beltre won’t outperform Young statically, but I’m not sure once Beltre turns 35 that his numbers will look any better then Youngs current numbers that he’s putting up at 35 years old. That’s just my opinion. Like I said then I believe the Rangers are faced with the situation they find themselves in now and aging player with reduced skills with a very unfriendly contract.

      • Ari Collins - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM

        Road stats are a bit of a crude way to look at it, but here they are:

        Adrian Beltre: .290/.337/.502
        Michael Young: .283/.326/.416

        That’s near a 100 point OPS difference. Young’s road hitting has been pretty bad.

        And while Michael Young played SS, it was only for half his career. And the scouts, fans, and statistics all agree he was poor at it, as has been the case (they all agree) at 2B and 3B as well.

        Totally understand conflating Beltre and Young, and you asked a reasonable question given that their unadjusted offensive numbers are fairly similar. But when you look a bit deeper by considering defense and especially the parks they’ve played in, Beltre has been a LOT better player than Michael Young ever was. So even if Beltre declines, it will be to more like what Young used to be than what he is now.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:15 PM

        To Ari – I won’t disagree with you about the defensive skills of Beltre. I’m sure you are correct.
        But offensively I’m not convinced statically he is better then Young, and I’m convinced the Rangers will regret the last 2 or 3 years of his proposed new contract. Of course your road numbers only present 1/2 the picture. Since 81 games are played at home.
        In looking at Young’s career numbers in Texas they are : .322 BA ; .372 OBP and .859 OPS Versus Beltre’s career numbers in the 3 home parks he’s played in: .258 BA ; .315 OBP and .740 OPS. We will just have to wait and see how Beltre performs in his new home in Texas if the contract actually happens.
        As you can see Young’s offensive in the home ballpark(s) is considerably better. Of course since none of us can see into the future we are all hypothesizing we will just have to wait and see.

  2. Charles Gates - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Heyman has lobbed a few grenades at the Angels over the past day or so, which I only took as a way to antagonize them into getting back into the Beltre bidding for Boras’s negotating power. But, yes, the Angels have been pretty quiet this off season…

    • aaronmoreno - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      It’s not that the Angels haven’t been making offers to several free agents. Those offers have even been reasonable. The problem is that reasonable offers don’t get guys signed. You have to overpay to get a top free agent, and the unwillingness to do that costs LAA Beltre and Crawford.

  3. pauleee - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Not so much quiet as not getting it done. Crawford and Beltre a bust. Looks like we start the season with Callaspo at 3rd, though I thought Franzen looked like a keeper. Certainly better than Brandon Wood, who just is not going to make it in the bigs. None of these options is as good as Figgins at 3rd in an Angel uniform.

    It’s going to be a long season.

  4. apbaguy - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    If the Rangers have indeed decided to do this, they should be given credit for trying to improve, at least. But they’ll have a lot of money, about $ 30M, tied up in Young and Beltre.

    Beltre’s regressions after a contract year are well known. Young, at 35, appears in decline as well. With their need for pitching unaddressed, Texas is the favorite to win the West but progress beyond that point is less likely. And winning the West is no sure thing. Depending on outfield injuries (Hamilton, Cruz) they could find themselves starved for offense in mid-year, and regretting spending $ 15 M on one player rather than on 3 journeymen.

  5. coryeuc - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Why spend on Beltre when they can stick Cantu at third?? Worked for the Fish!

  6. Ari Collins - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    They were already favorites, considering that they’ll be returning the same team minus half a year of Lee. Granted, Wilson and Lewis will likely regress, but getting a full year of Beltre’s offense plus the difference between Beltre’s D and Young’s is pretty huge.

    Five years isn’t too bad, and if he gets hurt, the 6th year isn’t guaranteed. Seems like a pretty good deal. Even if you’re buying the early and mid 30s, they’re the early and mid 30s of a very good player.

    Here’s to Beltre proving the contract year conspiracists wrong.

    And to my Red Sox having 4 picks in the first 45 or so of next year’s loaded draft.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:43 PM

      “And to my Red Sox having 4 picks in the first 45 or so of next year’s loaded draft.”

      That’s pretty nice,and the Rangers will actually get 2 in the first round now. They have 3 of the first 36 I think now. They picked up 33 and 36 off the Phills when Lee signed. Philly has 39 still and 54 from losing Werth to the Nats…

  7. bobwsc - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    I’ll miss the homers off of one knee. hopefully someone on the Rangers continues with Victor Martinez’s ritual of rubbing Beltre’s head after he homers (and royally pissing him off)

  8. bigtrav425 - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    wow…..talk about overpaying!! that is insane for someone who really isnt a start player by any means.Wtf are the Rangers thinking??!

  9. marshmallowsnake - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    I do not get this contract. He has had two great years…both $$ years…and the rest have been OK. He has only hit .300 twice…and both were when he needed to cash in…coincidence?

  10. Ari Collins - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Dave Cameron just put up a nice article at Fangraphs dispelling this contract year bullshit. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/adrian-beltre-is-not-motivated-by-contract-years/

    “The idea that Beltre can hit well when he wants to, but chooses not to in years where he’s not playing for a contract, just falls apart once you actually look at the facts. Beyond the fact that he’s only had big years in 40 percent of the seasons where his contract was expiring, there are more compelling alternative explanations that far more easily explain the drastic shifts in offensive production – most obviously, changes in playing environments.

    The 2004 and 2010 seasons have one thing in common besides being years in which Beltre was playing under the final year of his contract: they are the last two seasons in which he was not spending half of his games hitting in Safeco Field. Besides perhaps San Diego, there is no place in baseball more difficult for a right-handed pull power hitter than Seattle.”

  11. bradwins - Jan 4, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Ari, these guys don’t care about facts or statistical analysis. They obviously know more than a nerd like Dave Cameron and these idiot GMs making these outrageous decisions, COMBINED!

    And uyf1950, I don’t peruse these comment sections much, but seemingly every time I do you are going off the rails with some ill conceived argument. I think you have to be deliberately trying to incite an argument to ignore, or fail to comprehend, the difference between playing half your games in SafeCo and Dodger Stadium and playing half your games in Arlington.

    Beltre will RAKE in Texas, and I think that at least 3 of these years will be bargains. Who is to say after that? But you have to take those kinds of risks to get the great years at the beginning of these deals.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 4, 2011 at 6:48 PM

      Yeah, you can see I stopped arguing when he compared Michael Young’s hitting in Texas alone to Beltre’s hitting at home in his cavernous ballparks without realizing it proved MY point instead of his.

      Exactly what you said. The first three years of getting an MVP level talent for $16 million a year will more than offset a couple years decline to a merely-very-good mid-30s talent. I would have been just as happy if my Sox had kept him as traded for Gonzalez.

    • mtner77 - Jan 5, 2011 at 3:28 AM

      Well, I will agree a little.

      “They obviously know more than a nerd like Dave Cameron”

      Who doesn’t? Oh, I agree he is a nerd.

      As a Mariner’s fan, I so much wish “BIG DAVE” (who lives in North Carolina) would find ANOTHER TEAM TO ROOT FOR! Perhaps the Gnats??

      Most in the PNW are flat sick of this guy saying things that are embarrassing.

      (How did you get on “OUR” side”?)

      Happy #6ORG

      Opps….

      I mean happy New Year.

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