Rangers Sign Adrian Beltre
The Texas Rangers have signed third baseman Adrian Beltre to a 6-year, $96M contract.
Color me amused.
I’m guessing that the ridiculous long-term deals penned this winter were sparked by the Nationals’ signing of Jayson Werth, which should have occurred in a vacuum and not affected other signings. The Nats, with their new ownership, had a windfall of $50M+ to increase their budget, so making an irresponsible offer to Werth was feasible — to them. Such a deal likely would not have been offered by anyone else.
But, the Werth signing set a standard of sorts, followed by the Carl Crawford deal and now this Adrian Beltre debacle. Six years and almost a hundred million for a guy who is an excellent fielder and who has put up two excellent offensive seasons out of 13 in MLB — both of those happening in walk years, and one of them while playing half his games in Fenway Park.
For the short-term, I understand why Texas did what they did — Beltre will provide Gold Glove-caliber defense at third and give them a big bat for a year or two. But beyond that, it’s a huge gamble, particularly in the PEDs-testing era. Beltre turns 32 years old a week after Opening Day; does anyone else remember how quickly Robin Ventura’s bat speed disintegrated after he turned the same age? Of course, Beltre — with his many millions of dollars — could have access to “special vitamins” that are undetected by a urine test, but we’d like to believe that he (and all MLB players) are on the “up and up”; in which case, deteriorating skills are a major concern.
There are a number of pundits criticizing the Angels for missing out on Werth, Crawford, and Beltre — especially considering that they were big free-agent spenders in the past and they are in dire need of a big bat who can play a corner position. But I have to agree with the Angels’ decision to pass on a long-term, exorbitant contract on all three players. Maybe they’ll be sorry in 2011, but they’ll be better positioned for success in ’12, ’13, and beyond by keeping a cool head now.
I feel a little uncomfortable defending fiscal responsibility but some of these long-term, high-dollar winter signings seem inflated to me. Further, it appears that there is a dangerous precedent being set, due to a combined lack of talent on the free agent market and existence of new spenders. Which means that the pauper-payrolled Mets won’t be in the bidding for top talent in the future, and won’t be able to keep their best home-grown players when they reach free agency (i.e., Jose Reyes, David Wright, Mike Pelfrey, etc.).
In other words, we now know what it feels like to live in Kansas City.