Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Face, New Place: Adrian Beltre, Red Sox

When you think of Adrian Beltre, what comes to mind? For me, it's when the Seattle Mariners signed him to one of the worst contracts ever (5 years, $64 million) in 2005. At the time, Beltre was coming off a fantastic '04 with the Dodgers (.334, 48 homers, 128 RBIs, 104 runs, .388 OBP), but those were numbers he's never even come close to, before or since. It may have been the ultimate "contract year" performance and has to raise more than a few eyebrows as it came at the tail end of the Steroid Era.

It's a shame, because if you throw 2005 out, Beltre's still had a solid 12-year career, and he's always been a fine fielder at third base. The post-2005 disappointments tend to taint his fantasy reputation, but with the move to Boston, Beltre should be a bit under the radar at a fairly weak position. He should have some success as a right-handed hitter at Fenway Park (call it the Green Monster effect) and could be rejuvenated, much like the man he's replacing at third, Mike Lowell, was a few years ago. Assuming Beltre's fully recovered from last summer's testicle injury (sorry, fellas!), he could be a nice sleeper when you're filling out the back end of your roster.

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