Brian Cashman is going to have an interesting off-season. In all likelihood, barring a last second George Steinbrenner intervention, A-Rod is gone. Wilson Betemit, at the moment, is the Yanks’ option at third. He’s an interesting player, who has some upside and was once a very big prospect. So, maybe the Yanks go with him next season and try to make up for A-Rod’s loss by improving other positions. But there have been early reports or suggestions or rumors or random musings (I guess I don’t know what to call them) that the Yanks are looking at Adrian Beltre as a possible replacement. When I have brought this up to fellow Yanks fans, I get this response: Pass. Isn’t he the contract year poster boy who is grossly overpaid now? Doesn’t he have a .330 OBP? (I’m making up this response. I don’t have any friends.)
I have to say I don’t know much about Beltre. My general impressions have been that he’s not so good. But I have been wrong in the past. So I did some research. And one of the best things about this thing we call blogs is that you can find out from some pretty smart and informed people about players and teams you don’t ordinarily pay much attention to.
One of the best, if not the best, Mariners blogs going is U.S.S. Mariner. So I figured they would have something insightful to say about Beltre. And lo and behold, I was surprised at what they wrote in September of this year:
"Now, take a look at Adrian Beltre’s 2007 line: .283/.331/.503, 122 OPS+
The raw numbers are a little bit lower, but that’s Safeco Field for
you. At home, Beltre’s hitting .270/.332/.430, but away from Safeco,
it’s .295/.330/.567. From an offensive production standpoint, 2007
Beltre is basically indistringuishable from Carlos Lee, Alfonso
Soriano, or Aramis Ramirez, and he’s several notches ahead of Vernon
And that’s not even getting into the non-offense values. There’s the
defense, which is obviously a significant factor in Beltre’s favor.
There’s the health – he hasn’t missed any real time due to injury in
six years. And, to top it off, he has age on his side as he doesn’t
turn 29 until after opening day next year.
What would a 28-year-old with Beltre’s performance record command as
a free agent this winter? Not even accounting for possible inflation,
it’s almost impossible to believe that Beltre would do significantly
worse than last year’s crop of similar hitters. $15 million a year for
5 years would be the starting spot for negotiations, and it’s not hard
to see him getting into the 6 years, $100 million range that Carlos Lee
ended up receiving.
The Mariners should be extremely happy to have Adrian Beltre already
under contract for the next two years at the relative pittance of just
$24 million dollars. He’s a terrific player, one of the best third
baseman in baseball, and despite what the national media may tell you,
he’s underpaid relative to his market value."
This is just their analysis, but it makes the possibility of Beltre in pinstripes appealing to me. One wonders if Bill Bavasi, the M’s GM, who has made some odd trades recently, shares a similar view of Beltre. If so, then Beltre is likely not going anywhere. Or if he is, he’ll cost a lot in terms of prospects (but if what U.S.S. Mariner says is true then it still might make sens to trade a lot for Beltre). But there is always the hope that Bavasi thinks that Beltre is, in fact, overpaid. He has not put up numers close to those that he did in his amazing contract year. Perhaps, the M’s feel burned enough to want him gone as a salary dump? In any case, he is an intriguing possibility. What do you guys think?