Adrian Beltre is likely headed to Arlington

The signing is not official yet, but it appears that Adrian Beltre will sign a 6/$96mil deal to be a Texas Ranger through the 2016 season. Damn, that’s a lot of money.

To me, this is kind of a risky deal. $96mil is a lot of money, especially when that money will be going to player who will be in their mid-thirties for the majority of the contract and said player gets more of his value from his fantastic defense. For a young team that can a World Series RIGHT NOW it’s good bring in quality players, but this deal could potentially handcuff them down the road. Yes, Texas is a growing market and they have visions of being a franchise that can support a $100mil+ payroll. But they have a lot of young/good players who will want expensive extensions themselves (Hamilton, Josh; Wilson, CJ; Cruz, Nelson; Feliz, Neftali). Giving an old Beltre $16mil a season may prevent them keeping a Nelson Cruz or CJ Wilson.

I do think Texas is a good destination for Beltre. He is a good hitter, but not as good as his 2010 season suggests. He has power and mediocre on base skills. In a pitcher’s park in Seattle, he put up average numbers. In a hitters park in Boston, with some good fortune, he put up amazing numbers. Texas is a hitters park as well, so I think between that and an age related decline in offensive skill, his offensive numbers should be somewhere between the numbers he put up in Seattle and Boston- but closer to Seattle.

Moreover, he will continue to be a quality defender. However, the glove does slow with age. Now, he is an elite defender so I don’t think he’ll forget how to field a baseball. What I do believe will happen is that he will from a +10 to a +15 fielder, to a +5 fielder. Defense is where he gets a lot of value, so if his defense declines some, Texas may find themselves overpaying for Beltre.

Looking ahead to 2011, I believe Beltre has a true talent WAR level around 4 WAR, which is pretty much what he was in Seattle. In 2011 I see him being worth 10 runs offensively, 10 runs defensively, 20 runs through replacement level, and he should have about a 2 run positional adjustment. So I am predicting a 4.2 WAR.

So yeah, according to my figures it’s about a fair deal. I can see that. However, that doesn’t make him worth. As I said before, it’s risky. He could pay off right now. The team is a World Series contender and he gives them a legitimate chance to win it all. Plus, he is still a quality player and will be worth $16mil in all likelihood. However, come 2014 and beyond, he could have the type of contract that Texas will be looking to unload.

As for Beltre, he proved patience is a virtue.

 

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