In what follows you will read the tale of the best agent in baseball, a solid third basemen who is being paid as if he is the second coming of Mike Schmidt, and how a team with no chance of winning their division in 2011 is willing to dump $14 million into three moderately effective relievers.
Beltre to AL Champs
Now I’ve seen it all.
Middle relievers are getting multi year deals for more than $5 million a year, which is bad enough, but this whole Adrian Beltre situation has me totally befuddled until I read two words – Scott Boras. Somehow Beltre’s agent, Mr. Boras, has convinced the Rangers that they just had to have Beltre. Not only that, he’s convinced them to pay more than the $80-85 million Beltre was seeking as current reports put the deal he is on the verge of signing with the Rangers at 6-years and $96 million (see Postcards from Elysian Fields). Oh the deal isn’t done, and it does appear to have some language in it that could void the sixth year, but it seems like a near lock that it will get worked out. So here are my questions.
(1) Is Beltre worth that much money? I certainly don’t think so and I’ve written just that multiple times including an in depth look at the player in The Curious Case of Adrian Beltre. Give it a read before you think that the Rangers are spending their money wisely.
(2) How in the world did Mr. Boras get the Rangers to go six years and nearly $100 million on Beltre given that there seemed to be only one other team even remotely interested in Beltre? The Angels were the other team, but they reportedly pulled their 5-year, $70 million offer off the table when Beltre dragged his feat on accepting it. The Athletics long ago pulled out of the sweepstakes, and their offer was 5-years and $64 million according to reports. So again, I ask, how was Boras able to get six and 96 from the Rangers when no one else was reportedly within $25 million of that offer? There may be no person on the planet better at their job than Mr. Boras – not one.
(3) I can grant you that Beltre is a better defensive third baseman than Michael Young, but really, why the Rangers need to add Beltre to take over third and push Young to DH? Wouldn’t it have been more fiscally prudent just to leave Young at third and to bring free agent Vladimir Guerrero back to DH? Not only would they have saved something like $75 million compared to what they had to lay out for Beltre, their offense would likely have been just as good in 2011. Are the few runs a year that Beltre will save at third base worth the untold millions extra they are paying him?
(4) And finally, for the gazillionth time:
Beltre has one 30 homer season.
Beltre has two 100 RBI seasons.
Beltre has hit better than .290 just twice.
To compare – Aramis Ramirez has four 30-HR seasons, five 100 RBI efforts, and he has hit better than .290 six times, and few have ever considered him to be an elite option despite the fact that his offensive highs have dwarfed the efforts of Beltre.
Seriously, I just don’t get it.
Orioles Finally Sign Gregg
The Orioles finally got their man as they signed Kevin Gregg to a 2-year deal worth $10 million. According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, there is also a vesting option for a third year. For more on Gregg and his recent solid work on the hill spend a few moments looking over Hot Stove: Not Everyone is Greedy.
How does the end of the game look for the Orioles? They already have power lefty Michael Gonzalez in the pen, and he clearly can handle 9th inning work. I know he was injured last season and limited to just 24.2 innings last season because of injury, so the Orioles do need to make sure they have an alternative to Gonzalez. But still, they are paying him $6 million in 2011, and that is quite the cost for a setup man (and obviously, more than Gregg will be making). The Orioles did the smart thing and locked up control artist Koji Uehara for a mere $3 million on a one year deal (I say mere because of the aforementioned spending spree that GM’s went on this year with middle relievers). However, Uehara also had arm issues last season, and it’s unclear if he will be able to pitch every other day out of the bullpen. Uehara and Gonzalez are scheduled to make $9 million this year. Toss in another $5 million for Gregg and you are talking $14 million for those three arms in 2011. I guess in today’s age that isn’t too much to pay for a moderately successful closer, an injury prone lefty, and a guy who has thrown a total of 110.2 innings at the big league level.
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By Ray Flowers