Adrian Beltre vs. Michael Young: What Is the Best Choice For the Texas Rangers?

David Lynn@davidvlynnCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2011

BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 22:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Boston Red Sox hits a single in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles on September 22, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The biggest topic in Major League Baseball right now is the signing of Adrian Beltre.  In true Scott Boras fashion he has sold his client well and appears to be on the verge of another monster contract for one of his clients.

What appeared to be a competition between numerous teams, mostly from the AL West, has turned into one team on the verge of a contract. 

According to numerous sources, the Rangers and Beltre have agreed to terms on a six year $96 million deal for the hard slugging third baseman. 

At first sight, this appears to me to be a signing that will make it look like the organization is doing something, which is never a good reason for a signing.  It feels like missing out on Cliff Lee may be causing the Rangers to make somewhat of a rash decision.

I will concede that Beltre is an excellent fielder and a solid bat when he wants to be, but more on that later.

This deal just really doesn't make sense to me because I don't see Beltre as an upgrade in anything but home runs, and even that isn't a huge upgrade.

Beltre had one season of more than 30 home runs, and averages 21 home runs per season over his career.  Young, on the other hand, has averaged almost 16 in his 10 full seasons, which really isn't that many less.

So what about all the other numbers? 

Young averages more of almost everything else: Runs (+20), Doubles (+4), Hits (+40), RBIs (+4), Walks (+5), Average (+.025), and OBP (+.019).  Young is also good for an extra 100 or so at bats every season.

Young does average 10 more strikeouts, but again, that is with an extra 100 at bats. 

As for the great power numbers that Beltre supposedly is much better with, Young is slugging only .014 lower than Beltre.  That's right, 14 points and 5 home runs more per season. 

That must be worth $16 million a year.

So how about the stellar defensive numbers that make Beltre so desirable?

It is somewhat difficult to compare the two since Young only has two seasons as a third baseman, whereas Beltre has played there almost exclusively.  But lets just look at all the numbers for fun.

Young has played in about 320 fewer games than Beltre, or essentially two seasons worth.  However, he has more putouts, assists, and double plays, and not just by a little bit.  Some of that can definitely be attributed to his time playing up the middle, but what about as a fielder in general?

Young has almost 100 fewer errors having played essentially two extra full seasons.  He also has a career fielding percentage 21 points better than Beltre. 

Despite the fact that Beltre is supposedly a better fielder, he has almost twice as many errors in 320 fewer games and thus has a fielding percentage that is drastically lower.

Beltre does have one more gold glove than Young, but if Derek Jeter hadn't won so many because of his past, Young would likely have one or two more.

The biggest reason that I am against this deal is the intangibles.

Young is the consummate team leader who has repeatedly shown the team is more important than his own desires.  He has changed positions twice for the good of the team, and has offered to do so a third time because the team has asked him too.

Beltre, on the other hand, only plays well when he is in a contract year.  His two biggest years in home runs, RBIs, and average were in contract years.  The only two seasons he hit over .300 were those years.

Career bests in hits, runs, slugging percentage, etc...all in his contract years.

Now obviously Daniels, Ryan and Greenberg know more about baseball than I do, since they own the team, but the numbers just don't add up to me.

I prefer the team player to the selective hustler any day, and the numbers really aren't that impressive anyway.