MLB Free Agent Rumors: 10 Teams That Need Adrian Beltre to Contend
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Adrian Beltre is entering the last major free agency of his career. His rumors have a wider intrigue than Cliff Lee’s, because more teams are involved.
Beltre is a rare talent as he excels both at the plate and in the field, so any team that signs him is improving both offensively and defensively. Few players can make this kind of difference to a team, but Beltre can help a lot of teams compete in 2011.
Here is a list of ten teams that need Adrian Beltre to compete in 2011:
The Oakland Athletics
If Beltre joined Matsui in Oakland, they could win the AL West.
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The A’s were a team in on Beltre from the beginning of his free agency.
The A’s have an opening at third base now that Eric Chavez has probably moved on. Beltre would make an excellent addition, and help fortify a lineup that just added Josh Willingham and 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui.
However, Anaheim’s high offer effectively puts Oakland out of the running for Beltre’s services. Beltre also doesn’t fit into the traditional mold of a Moneyball player, as his OBP is not much better than his average.
The Arizona Diamondbacks
Someone needs to replace Mark Reynolds, and Adrian Beltre would be a huge upgrade.
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After trading Mark Reynolds, the D-Backs have a major opening at third base. Signing Beltre would fill that gap, and justify the low price they took for him.
At the moment, the NL West is weaker than usual with the Padres trading away Adrian Gonzalez, and the Dodgers in ownership flux. Signing Beltre would make a three horse race between the D-Backs, the Rockies and the defending champion Giants.
The Colorado Rockies
Cargo and Tulo already have a foundations for a good team, but adding Beltre could help them to a division title.
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The Rockies are a young team, and could use a veteran presence like Beltre’s. They already have two great young pieces in Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, so obtaining Beltre should put the Rockies over the top to win the weak NL West.
Colorado has Ian Stewart at third base currently, but he is no Adrian Beltre. If they could pony up the money for five years, they would have Tulo, Cargo and Beltre locked up to form a powerhouse in their division for years to come.
The St. Louis Cardinals
If Beltre joined this lineup they could be the class of the National League.
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The Cardinals need a little bit more help to contend in 2011. They have to deal with a loaded Milwaukee Brewers team, and the resurgent Cincinnati Reds just to win their division. If they can accomplish that amazing feat, they then must face the Phillies in the playoffs.
The Cards’ biggest weakness is at third base, where David Freese is currently starting. If the Cardinals can sign Beltre, they would complete an elite infield that includes Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Ryan Theriot, and Skip Schumaker.
This would easily give the Cardinals enough firepower to stay with the improved competition in the NL Central, and even overpower the heavily favorited Phillies to win the pennant.
The Chicago White Sox
Gordan Beckham's move to second base could open up third base for Beltre.
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White Sox GM Kenny Williams loves to acquire power bats that hit around .270-.280, and Beltre would be the epitome of such a player. Granted, they already acquired Adam Dunn, they are weak at third base, and Beltre would fit that hole nicely.
If the White Sox signed Beltre, they’d have a loaded lineup that would include Beltre, Dunn, Konerko, and Alex Rios at its heart. The South Siders may be weak on pitching, but a lineup of that caliber could win them the AL Central, and maybe even get them to the ALCS.
The Washington Nationals
The Nats showed they were serious by signing Werth. Will they keep their efforts up by signing Beltre?
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If the Nationals can pull off a Beltre signing, they would officially be stacked. They’d have the pleasant problem of convincing either Beltre or Ryan Zimmerman to move to first base, and have a lineup that has Beltre, Zimmerman, and Jayson Werth at its heart.
The Nationals need some more pitching and hitting help, as they must attempt to endure the super-powered Phillies, so signing Beltre would be a start.
While it seems unlikely they will beat the highest offer, crazier things have happened this offseason. If the Nationals are committed to contend in 2011, they ought to take a serious run at Beltre.
The Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim
Jered Weaver needs Adrian Beltre's help if he wants a division title in 2011.
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The Angels are probably the team that needs to sign Beltre most. They missed out on Carl Crawford earlier this offseason, and have done little to make themselves a contender for 2011.
The Angels may get Kendry Morales back in time for the season, but he needs help and protection in a lineup that lost Vladimir Guerrero and Chone Figgins after the 2009 season.
Combine their inactivity with a lineup lacking compared to years past, and not signing Beltre makes a recipe for disaster.
The Los Angeles Dodgers
Incoming manager Don Mattingly needs some help if he wants to succeed in is first season as a manager.
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Beltre broke into the Majors with the Dodgers, and he enjoyed his best seasons there, with the exception of his sole campaign in Boston. The Dodgers need to make a splash to contend in 2011.
Most importantly, they need to acquire a power-bat to make up for the regression and loss of Manny Ramirez, which was the team’s undoing last season.
With the divorce battle of the team’s owners, the Dodgers are unlikely to commit the $65-75 million it will take to sign Beltre, but if the team doesn’t sign him, they are doomed to failure, as Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp will have no protection in the lineup.
The Minnesota Twins
Mauer and Morneau need another bat to help fortify their lineup.
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The Twins already have a nice lineup, and have a pretty good young third baseman in Danny Valencia. However, the past two seasons have proven Justin Morneau is incredibly brittle, and the lack of his presence in the lineup were the Twins’ undoing.
By signing Beltre, the Twins have an excellent insurance policy for Morneau’s seemingly yearly injury that costs him substantial time. If Morneau does manage to stay healthy, then the Twins lineup could have Mauer, Morneau and Beltre at its heart, forming possibly the best 3-4-5 tandem in baseball.
The Texas Rangers
Andrus and Beltre will make for a heck of an infield on the left side.
The Rangers have had a pretty mediocre offseason so far. They lost out on retaining Cliff Lee, but did sign Brandon Webb. They might or might not re-sign Vlad Guerrero, but either way, they need Beltre.
The Ballpark in Arlington is a great hitter’s park, and it should suit Beltre’s skill set well. There shouldn’t be a huge drop-off from his Boston numbers to playing in Texas.
Hours ago, a rumor surfaced saying that Beltre and the Rangers were close to a six-year-deal worth $96 million. This could form the best defensive infield on the left side when he teams up with Elvis Andrus
If the Rangers don’t sign Beltre, he will most likely end up in Anaheim, making the Angels the class of the AL West. However, if the Rangers can sign Beltre and re-sign Vlad, they’re right back in the saddle of the American League.