Thank you Scott Boras! photo by seattletimes.com
One thing is for certain: it seems that if you put Adrian Beltre in a contract or option year, at least 2 out of 3 times he turns into Eddie Matthews for a season. Any other year, and the right handed power hitter from Santo Domingo, DR is a high-strikeout bundle of frustration at the plate. The Dodgers and Mariners found that out the long and expensive way, but if you’re the Boston Red Sox you have to like the $9 million “bargain” you got by bringing Beltre in for 2010. Beltre is absolutely tearing it up this season with the bat. So far in 2010, Beltre is hitting .325 with 27 HRs, 97 RBIs, and a .929 OPS.
Beltre’s glove has never been a question. He has always been a good defensive player, and he has a couple of Gold Gloves to prove it. Beltre’s performance with the bat, however, has been much more hit or miss (pun intended) over his career.
Do you remember 2004? That was the breakout season Beltre had with the Dodgers, where he led the NL with 48 home runs , drove in 121 runs, and had an OPS of 1.017. Beltre was otherworldly that season after a previous six years of being considered unrealized potential by the Dodgers. In fact, in those previous six seasons, Beltre never had a season with more than 23 home runs, 85 RBIs or an OPS over .835.
As a result (and with a little help from super agent Scott Boras), Beltre was rewarded with a fat $63 million pay day from the Seattle Mariners, where he proceeded to spend 5 seasons averaging a little over 20 HRs per season, and never had more than an .802 OPS. Don’t get me wrong, Beltre’s numbers weren’t bad, but they didn’t reflect the $13 million per year he was getting paid.
Last offseason the Mariners let him go in to free agency, where he took a one-year deal (with a mutual second year option) with the Red Sox. This season in Boston, Beltre seems to be re-channeling his 2004 performance. Too bad for the Red Sox that Beltre’s effort has been wasted by Boston’s inability to gain any ground in their division.
One wonders if both sides will pick up the option for 2011. Beltre does like the Green Monsta: 11 of Beltre’s 13 home runs at Fenway this season have gone over the left field wall, and 12 of his 15 doubles there have been hit off the wall or close enough to it to leg out a double.
To be fair, both Dodger Stadium and Safeco Field are considered pitcher’s parks, so it’s not a total shocker that Beltre’s offensive numbers went up when he moved to Boston. I can only imagine what he would be like if he played for the Yankees in that new wiffle ball field they built in the Bronx.