Mariners Insider

Beltre will miss Seattle, but not Safeco Field

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Jan. 5, 2010 at 7:24 am with 6 Comments »
January 5, 2010 1:01 pm
Adrian Beltre
Adrian Beltre

The market for Adrian Beltre wasn’t what he or agent Scott Boras believed it was, and the Gold Glove third baseman eliminated one team from consideration the day he became a free agent.

Seattle.

Beltre’s one-year and an option contract in Boston will give him the chance to build power numbers, although there’s a risk with his penchant for trying to pull the ball that Fenway Park will become an obsession with him.

When he left the Mariners after five years, he loved his teammates – it was mutual – and the fans. He loved manager Don Wakamatsu and general manager Jack Zduriencik.

And he loathed Safeco Field.

For all the injuries Beltre suffered in his Seattle career – from groin pulls to shoulder impingements, torn thumb ligaments and a bruised testicle – the one he never discussed was his heart.

Safeco Field broke it.

Beltre was not going to hit 48 home runs in a season as a Seattle Mariner, though he’d done that his last year in the National League. The problem was, he tried.

No matter which batting coach worked with him, and there were plenty over the last five seasons, Beltre couldn’t stand hitting long fly balls to left field in Safeco Field and watching them get caught. No more than he could stop trying to hit them.

In batting practice he would spray the ball around the field, and in games Beltre was at his best hitting the gaps at home that led to doubles. He never had more than 26 home runs in a season as a Mariner.

He wanted more and believed he’d hit more – Safeco Field simply kept stealing them from him.

So when Beltre signed in Boston, his agent leaked the fact that he’d turned down longer offers for more money from two teams. Neither was Seattle. It turns out the Athletics and Angels tried to bring Beltre in, though not for the kind of money Boras wanted.

So Beltre went to Boston, where the Green Monster will turn hard hit balls into singles off that wall, and yield fly ball home runs that Safeco Field would have devoured.

The Mariners will miss him. Unlike the surly Richie Sexson or the statistics-crazed Alex Rodriguez, Beltre played hard every day and would not publicly complain about the park in which he played.

He just wasn’t going to come back and play 81 games a year in it.

Now, a few  links:

  • Shannon Drayer has posted a fun Q & A with Ichiro on her blog, and for those who wonder what it’s like to talk to the man himself, this will let you know. Ichiro remains one of the mos unique players and interviews in the game.
  • Now that Beltre has signed, veteran third baseman Melvin Mora is hoping to land a job, and his agent said three teams have expressed interest in the 37-year-old.
  • One ex-Mariners catcher replaces another in Colorado, where Miguel Olivo signed a one-year deal with an option – at the expense of Yorvit Torrealba. Olivo will join his sixth team since 2002.
  • Columnist Dan Shaugnessy takes on the Edgar Martinez Hall of Fame candidacy – he did not vote for him - and sabermetricians with lines like this:  “The stat geeks, those get-a-lifers who are sucking all the joy out of our national pastime, no doubt will be able to demonstrate that Edgar was better than Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby. I’m not buying. Stats don’t tell the whole story. A man can drown in three feet of water.”
  • Yet another reminder why it’s great to  be left-handed: the Kansas City Royals have signed former Mariners reliever John Parrish. Parrish didn’t  pitch well in Seattle and missed all 2009 following shoulder surgery.
  • Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano has been a rumored target for the Mariners, and after a 5-13 season last year, he’s pitching well in winter ball. Manager Ron Gardenhire’s excitement could be genuine – or a sales pitch.
  • Big news! Rihanna has been seen in public with boy toy and erstwhile Los Angeles Dodger Matt Kemp! That passes for news in Hollywood,  and in Britain, where this story is a must-read if only for it’s headline.
Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. monmornQB says:

    Safeco might have broken his heart but I loved the way he played w/ so much of it. Injured and played anyway. Nothing got past him even if he had to block the ball w/o a cup on. But I wont miss watching long fly ball outs and swinging at bad pitches. But I hope the fans in Boston enjoy watching his little dance in the batters box on the rare moments he holds off on the high heat.

  2. wabubba67 says:

    Liriano would be great if Z could pull it off at a reasonable price…would LOVE a LH heavy starting rotation in Safeco of Hernandez, Lee, Liriano, RRS, and probably Snell.

    Mora is somewhat interesting, too. I’ve always thought that he was a pain in the a$$ to get out in the clutch….A one year contract at a good price as a stop-gap measure (to get to Tuiasosopo in 2011) at 3B? Could move Figgins to 2B and Lopez to 1B (if you think that his OBP would go up with having better hitters around him in the line-up…if not, sign a free agent 1B). The Ms wouldn’t be in that bad of shape by signing a LH 1B and essentially platoon him with Mora….on days that a LH pitches it would be Mora at 3B, Figgins at 2B, Lopez at 1B….on days that a RH pitches it would be Figgins at 3B, Lopez at 2B, free-agent LH at 1B.

  3. footballscaa says:

    The Red Sox fans should enjoy watching Beltre screw himself into the ground and he swings for the green monster, every at bat. They’ll start calling for Lowell by June.

  4. brosco13 says:

    how come vlad guerrero seemed to hit a million home runs out to right in safeco and the mariners cant? I think Beltre was just off the juice because of the authorities coming down on PEDs.

  5. SharkHawk says:

    I may be the only M’s fan to say this, but I am not a big fan of Safeco. I have never enjoyed watching games there. I think it’s a poorly designed park for fans who sit in the outfield (I know the line seating is much better). You can’t see the outfielders from the upper deck in right field. The left field bleacher situation is just weird. The centerfield seats are too far away. Overall, it just isn’t a great park for fans in the outfield in my opinion.

    But on the other end of it…. the players have never liked it either. So why is the organization so totally tied to having such a massive park? It hasn’t gotten us any World Series appearances yet. Our best single season was played there, but I honestly think that if we had been in the Kingdome that same season we would have won more in the playoffs, because the team would have been used to playing in a bandbox.

    The teams that are playing well now tend to be in smaller stadiums. The Yankees and Red Sox both play in tiny parks. Sure they have the money to pay players that fit those parks, but the M’s could increase their appeal to players and fans alike by making the outfield smaller. Once they found out the ball doesn’t move to left then why didn’t they move the fences in at least at the corners? Give the fans and players some excitement by moving things in.

    Now what does this have to do with the view? Moving the fences in makes it easier for fans in the upper reaches to see, because nobody is standing behind the views from up high.

  6. That explains why he didn’t come back; I would think the M’s would have matched 10 mil 1 year.

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