Rangers, Beltre Agree to Six Year Deal
The Texas Rangers are adding another gold glove to their infield.
After receiving word over the weekend that third baseman Michael Young was willing to make the transition to designated hitter and utility player the Rangers moved quickly on free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre.
The Rangers and Beltre have agreed on a six year contract worth $96 million; the sixth season could be voided by the Rangers based on plate appearances for Beltre in the fifth season.
The deal is expected to be announced at a press conference in Arlington Wednesday afternoon.
Known for his strong defense and power bat, Beltre brings much needed flexibility to manager Ron Washington's lineup, flexibility the team badly needed in the World Series loss to the San Francisco Giants.
Adding Beltre brings an end to Vladimir Guerrero's time in Texas as the team would no longer need a DH with Young expected to get the majority of starts in the role.
Guerrero's 2010 season was highlighted by a strong first half landing the DH a start in the All-Star Game, but a second half swoon that lasted through the playoffs made the Rangers look at other options for the middle of the order.
Beltre will likely bat behind AL MVP Josh Hamilton and outfielder Nelson Cruz in the Rangers batting order giving the Ranger mashers some much needed protection.
More importantly Beltre solidifies the left side of the Rangers infield giving the team much more range on the hard Texas infield surface along with gold glove caliber defense at the hot corner.
Many outside the Rangers organization view this move as more of a necessity with Young's declining defense; however, the move is more than likely due to the lack of quality third baseman available over the next few off seasons.
While Young can still play third base at a level good enough to win, his defense is in decline and the Rangers likely viewed Beltre as their stop gap while the team develops another third baseman.
As for 2011 the Rangers are set up nicely to defend their American League Championship with an improved offense and a pitching staff that gained much needed experience last season.
Beltre will likely be the Rangers last big move before Spring Training unless the Rays or Marlins are prepared to move young ace starters Matt Garza or Josh Johnson.
For now if the Rangers do finish off the rumored deal for Beltre the team will be pretty well set for Spring Training which opens in a few weeks.