Adrian Beltre Signed by Texas Rangers: What This Means for 5 Others Around MLB
He's done it again.
Adrian Beltre, for the second time in six years, has completely rebuilt his value during a contract year and has earned himself another huge contract.
The Texas Rangers will potentially pay Beltre $96 million over a six-year contract to carry on his mastery of the third base position and to, hopefully, continue hitting the ball like he did for Boston this past season.
Now, I'm not here to debate over whether or not Beltre got too much money. I'm not going to talk about whether or not the Angels and A's should've stepped up their offers for the All-Star third baseman.
I'm not even going to talk about the trio of Beltres (Engel Beltre, Omar Beltre and now Adrian Beltre) that are currently part of the Texas 40-man roster, though it is quite the fun fact.
What I am interested in is what this signing means for a handful of other guys around the league. Let's go ahead and begin with what the move means for Beltre's new teammate, Michael Young.
Michael Young has been a Ranger since his rookie call-up in 2000, when he was a second baseman. The next summer he took over the second base job full-time and played the position until the team traded Alex Rodriguez for Alfonso Soriano.
Soriano's addition, in turn, moved Young to shortstop, where he eventually became a Gold Glover in 2008.
Fresh off that Gold Glove performance, the team asked Young to move to third base to create room for up-and-coming shortstop prospect Elvis Andrus. The move worked out for both infielders, as Young sported a respectable fielding percentage and batted .322 while Andrus won 2009 AL Rookie of the Year honors.
The Rangers surely appreciate Young's versatility, not to mention the fact that he's a career .300 hitter, but they will now ask him to switch positions yet again.
Adrian Beltre will be the team's third baseman, no doubt about it, and Young will either learn to play first base or become the team's regular designated hitter. He will not be traded because his contract is too large of a commitment, and he's still a valuable player who can fill in at second, short or third if the team encounters injuries.
My prediction is that he will actually play first base on a relatively consistent basis so the Rangers can rotate their outfielders (Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy and Julio Borbon) between the field and the DH spot. Mitch Moreland will also get playing time at first base. Either way, Young will still get 500 to 600 at-bats with the Rangers.
Vlad "The Impaler" just lost one suitor.
Guerrero was a great fit with the Rangers in 2010 and a big reason that the team made it to the World Series. He would've been a great fit with the Rangers in 2011 as well had they not signed Adrian Beltre to a mammoth contract.
Vlad's demands are currently too high for the Rangers, who will now pay a significant portion of their payroll to Beltre and Michael Young while also preparing to give raises to players like Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and C.J. Wilson, who are all arbitration eligible.
Unless Guerrero is willing to take a cut in pay, he will have to look elsewhere, beginning with teams like the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays, who could be looking to add a designated hitter. His main competition on the free agent market is Jim Thome.
This offseason, the Oakland A's have proven that they are struggling with an identity crisis at third base.
After Kevin Kouzmanoff struggled in his first season with the club, the team claimed Edwin Encarnacion off waivers from the Blue Jays. General manager Billy Beane later non-tendered Encarnacion, who fittingly re-signed with the Blue Jays.
Amidst this interesting cycle, the team also reportedly offered a contract to Adrian Beltre worth upwards of $60 million. Since Beltre obviously didn't accept that contract, the A's are now back where they began with Kevin Kouzmanoff manning third base.
Beltre was easily the best third baseman on the market, which means Kouzmanoff's job appears safe, for now at least. He will have to earn his playing time by learning how to get on base (career .283 OBP), along with displaying the strong defense he honed earlier in his career.
He can also thank the rival Texas Rangers for outbidding his Oakland A's and effectively saving his job.
Brandon Wood finds himself in a situation similar to that of A's third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, as Wood will now have a chance to earn a starting spot on the Angels with Adrian Beltre out of the picture.
The Angels were supposedly targeting Carl Crawford and Beltre when the offseason began but have now failed to sign either. They will have to rely on younger players to make an impact with Wood being one of those guys.
Wood was once a top prospect who put up 51 doubles and 43 home runs in a season at the Single-A level when he was just 20 years old. Throughout his 330 games at the AAA level, he has hit .283 with 77 home runs. This minor league success has not transitioned with him to the majors, however.
The Angels' former first-round pick has a frustrating major league career line of .169/.198/.260 to go along with some glove-work that leaves much to be desired. Now, still just 25 years old, Wood will have one more shot to win the starting job but will have to beat out teammates Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis for the job.
Adrian Beltre's $96 million deal with the Rangers also means that his agent, Scott Boras, has won again.
Boras is known for being a great agent and one who secures top dollar for his clients. His lofty demands often start negotiations at the high end of the spectrum, and it often results in ridiculous amounts of wealth for the players that choose to hire him.
In addition to Beltre, Boras' client list includes Carlos Beltran, J.D. Drew, Prince Fielder, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Holliday, Magglio Ordonez, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Soriano, Stephen Strasburg, Mark Teixeira, Jayson Werth and Barry Zito, according to www.mlbtraderumors.com.
In Beltre's situation, Boras was able to secure a contract that was higher than most expected. Boras will now look to do the same with clients Rafael Soriano and Manny Ramirez, as they are still free agents looking for work as the winter months wear on.
Something tells me that Boras will make sure these guys are pretty well off by the time spring rolls around.