Hot Corner Hot Stove: Adrian Beltre

Age:  29
Bats/Throws:  Right
Height/Weight:  5'11", 225 lbs
Contract Status:  Under contract for 2008 and 2009; due approx. $12 MM in '09


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2008 - Adrian Beltre 100 384 51 100 19 0 16 47 41 65 7 1 .260 .330 .435

Profile:  Superior defender with a rocket arm, Beltre's contract was predicated on an astounding '04 campaign with the Dodgers.  Offense hasn't lived up to expectations, but he still may be a bargain as some believe on the open market he'd be worth $15 MM/season.  Excellent power to left and center fields, but doesn't go the other way very often and loses ability for the long-ball when he does.  Poor plate discipline and strike zone judgement.  String of minor health issues.

Pros:  Beltre's defensive abilities are a huge bonus in addition to his offensive skills, and in fact they set him apart from other candidates.  His power clearly stands above Minnesota's current options, and would be a good supplemental bat who would be well suited to hit fifth or sixth.  He's smart on the basepaths and even swipes a bag from time to time.  His strikeout rates aren't horrible, and his walk rates are up this year.  His ratios do fluctuate from season to season, but he's making solid contact this year and is posting an above average line drive percentage.  Finally, he actually excels away from Seattle, hitting .298/.365/.479 when the Mariners are the away team.

Cons:  Adrian's health has to be an issue; although he's missed no real time on the field (in fact he plays far more regularly than many starting third basemen), you have to wonder if at some point all those little tweaks that only hamper the player will grow into something more.  His isolated power is still just .174 (identical to Garrett Atkins), meaning he may not provide the Twins with as much of the deep-threat offense they're looking for.   Typically he walks less often than he has this season, and hasn't finished with an on-base percentage higher than .328 since his tremendous farewell season in Los Angeles.  Like Atkins, while he mashes southpaws (.366/.464/.559) which is something this team does desperately needs, he's struggled against right handers (.227/.284/.395).  Lastly, his strike zone judgement is horrific, as he takes a cut at one of every three pitches outside the strike zone.  Aggression may not be something the Twins need in spades.

Conclusions:  I like Beltre's defense, and I like his bat generally.  He's definitely an upgrade, but I think my approval of a deal with Seattle for their Gold Glove third baseman would depend entirely on what was sent back to the Mariners as compensation.

Hot Corner Hot Stove Archive:  Garrett Atkins

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