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.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Ryan January 6, 2011 at 12:56 pm
    Hey Joe – couldn’t agree more that the owners are agreeing to inflated contracts with this year’s crop of free agents. Could it have anything to do with the labor agreement between the MLBPA and the owners, perhaps regarding paying out percentages of revenue at a gross annual rate? All three – Crawford, Werth, and Beltre – are way overpriced. Most people in the media are not calling out this distortion.
    • Joe Janish January 7, 2011 at 12:19 am
      The explanation that remains is, if the players are getting it, it means the teams can afford it.

      THAT’S the scary thing. How much are these teams making, that they can afford these deals? yikes!

  2. Walnutz15 January 6, 2011 at 1:13 pm
    Don’t get me wrong, Beltre’s a good ballplayer….and will definitely help Texas out for a few years on that deal [especially in traditionally performing well there].


    But 5 years guaranteed – $80MM, with a 6th year option, bringing it up to almost $100MM?

    Does makes me fear for the future if this guy is being considered a (near) $100MM man.

    Contract specs, from Rosenthal:

    “As part of his new contract with the Rangers, Adrian Beltre needs 600 plate appearances in 2015 or 1,200 plate appearances from 2014-15 in order for his $16 million option for 2016 to vest automatically.

    The $80 million guaranteed in the deal breaks down as follows:

    $14 million in 2011,
    $15 million in 2012,
    $16 million in 2013,
    $17 million in 2014,
    $18 million in 2015.

    One interesting detail is if he ends the 2015 season on the disabled list and a mutually agreed on doctor deems him unable to play at normal health by spring 2016, the club may defer $12 million of his 2016 salary at one-percent interest.”

  3. Walnutz15 January 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm
    So, really….by comparison, I think Texas actually did okay with Beltre.

    Werth’s deal is insane, and Crawford’s probably won’t play out the way the Sox will want it to; in my opinion, anyway.

    We’ll see what happens here. Beltre’s actually a very solid 3rd baseman, and who knows what he brings to that lineup….now that they’re dangerous and contending.

  4. micalpalyn January 6, 2011 at 5:27 pm
    So what would DW’s value be…..hmmm
  5. Tasan January 6, 2011 at 7:09 pm
    too much money for a guy who’s more fluke than RA Dickey…Beltre isn’t even an intimidating hitter…he’s going to be a bust like he was with the dodgers in the early 90s. fenway basically padded his numbers
  6. wohjr January 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm
    I’m thinking the same thing as mic here… Does this mean it will take 120+ mil to retain mr. Wright? That makes me more than a bit uncomfortable