First of all, I’m going to miss Adrian Beltre. He was a professional, who worked hard and went about his business. Watching him work out at third base is truly amazing up close.yes, he is immensely talented when it comes to defensive skills, but he put in plenty of work to make his talent tangible, and turn himself into the finest defensive third baseman I’ve ever seen.
Need a reminder?
Of course, Beltre was also a character. Appealing his own check swings, doing mini dances in the batter’s box and once hitting a pitch over his head out of the park in San Diego.
Oh and there was also this, he allowed me to write the following sentences …
From this blog post ..
Beltre has been placed on the disabled list with “a severely contused right testicle” after getting hit on a hard ground ball by Alexei Ramirez in the ninth inning. Infielder Josh Wilson has been recalled from Triple A Tacoma.
Or this blog post …
“I thought, ‘it exploded,’” he said when asked of when it first happened. “It was weird, because it hit right on it, right on top of it. I felt like going down, but I saw the ball right next to me, and I wanted to finish the play. Then I made a wild throw. It was on target, but low.”
That day that manager Don Wakamatsu first told us about the injury was just surreal and uncomfortable, particularly for us guys. But it kept getting stranger. During that media gathering, one TV reporter, I won’t say who, offered this question, complete with hand gestures simulating it …
I, uh, I, Is it a crossed thing, because of I’ve sometimes heard of testicles getting crossed?
At that moment, I was getting kicked by Larry Stone, who was choking back full-on laughter.
But beyond that ruptured testicle/not wearing a cup story, which I’m sure Beltre will have to tell Boston reporters at some point, the man could play the game. He is, according to most, the best defensive third baseman in baseball.
Dave Cameron of USS Mariner and Fangraphs says Beltre may be the best defensive third baseman of all time.
It isn’t just the numbers, either. When you watch Beltre play third base, you are amazed at the things he can do. He has perfected the charge on a bunt – no one in baseball comes in on the ball as well as he does. His lateral range is hilarious at times, as he regularly fields balls that are hit directly at the shortstop, just because he can. He has a great arm, often throwing lasers across the field without transferring his weight, showing pure arm strength.
But it’s not the defense that has some people raising eyebrows at this signing for the Red Sox. It’s the hitting. Yes, Beltre’s numbers never reached the expectation level some had. A lot of it was Safeco Field. Larry mentioned earlier today that Beltre didn’t enjoy hitting in spacious Safeco Field. Well, there was a reason. Just look at his home/road splits. They do offer some hints of it.
Home: 54 games, 230 plate appearances — .250 BA, .283 OBP, .364 Slugging
Road: 57 games, 247 PAs — .279/.393/.717
Home: 71 games, 300 PAs — .240/.303/.400
Road: 72 games, 312 PAs — .292/.349/.512
Home: 77 games, 323 PAs — .264/.319/.426
Road: 72 gamses, 316 PAs — .288/.320/.538
Home: 76 games, 321 PAs — .251/.310/.417
Road: 80 games, 361 Pas — .283/.343/.462
Home: 75 games, 308 — .263/.312/.382
Away: 81 games, 342 PAs — .248/.295/.440
Let’s see what others are saying …
With Beltre in the starting lineup over Kotchman, the Red Sox will feature one of the best defensive infields in their history – assuming newcomer Marco Scutaro grades out as the Sox project. Keeping Youkilis at first base gives the Sox recent Gold Glove winners at first (Youkilis, 2007), second (Dustin Pedroia, 2008), and third (Beltre, 2007-08), which takes the philosophy of pitching-and-defense to new levels. Add in center fielder Mike Cameron (`01, `03, `06), and the Sox could boast seven Gold Gloves in their starting lineup on a nightly basis.
Beltre, a player the Red Sox always wanted, is arguably the finest defensive player in the game at any position, and to have him planted at the hot corner is a nice bow on top of the collection of run-preventers the Sox have been collecting this offseason.
Foxsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal says that Beltre turned down multi-year deals from the Phillies and A’s, and says it’s a steal for the Sox.
Still, the Red Sox could not have done much better.
Even low-revenue teams are comfortable with certain short-term, high-dollar contracts. High-revenue teams such as the Sox relish such agreements, the better for them to remain flexible long-term.
The addition of Beltre would leave the Red Sox no room to trade for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez this summer, unless one of their corner infielders or designated hitter David Ortiz was injured.
Want a differing opinion? Jesse Specter of the New York Daily News doesn’t like the deal for Boston.
Beltre is not a necessity for the Red Sox, and Boston is one of those cities where you have to worry about the psychological side of things. Beltre has played his entire career on the West Coast, coming up with the Dodgers as a 19-year-old in 1998. After hitting 48 homers in 2004, he signed a five-year, $64 million contract in Seattle, and couldn’t live up to it, batting .266 with 103 homers over the life of the deal.