• Nov

    Beltre could be a good fit

    Rumor has it that the Orioles are interested in 3B Adrian Beltre and like usual, there’s a great conversation of the pros and cons on the OH message board

    Beltre is an interesting guy for several reasons even though his overall numbers in 2009 were certainly not good.  He’s no longer a budding superstar who once hit 48 home runs as a 25-year old, but more of a journeyman looking for a place to rebound his career.  When you look at the Orioles roster, the Beltre fit makes a lot of sense to me.

    Obviously the Orioles have a hole at 3B in 2009 since it appears they have every intention of starting 3B prospect Josh Bell at AAA Norfolk next year.   On top of it, the switch hitting Bell is basically a platoon guy who kills righties, but who has never had sustained success batting right-handed against lefties. Even if Bell forces his way into the Orioles plans as early as mid-season 2010, he’ll almost certainly need a platoon partner at 3B for at least the first season or two. Beltre hits lefties extremely well (.855 OPS vs LHP in 2009 and .994 in .2008) and would be an outstanding platoon partner for Bell IF he forces his way onto the roster.

    Another thing to consider is the park effects for Beltre. Beltre has struggled in spacious Safeco Field in Seattle putting up a .646 OPS at home vs .717 away in 2009 and a .703 vs .862 in 2008. Meanwhile at Camden Yards over the last three year he has an .853 OPS (of course he was facing Orioles pitching so that has to be taken into consideration).

    There are question of course about his motivation and struggles against right-handed pitching the last few years, but this might be a classic case of guy who needed a change of scenery. If I’m the Orioles, I’m not breaking the bank for Beltre, but if I could sign him to a two year contract with a  club option for a third for a reasonable rate I’m doing it.

    Now, one thing to remember is that Scott Boras is his agent so it’s doubtful he’s coming on the cheap.  Boras tends to wait a long time for his clients to sign in order to get every last possible dime so that doesn’t bode well for the Orioles who needs to do something to shore up the position for 2010. One thing that might come into the equation in the Orioles favor is Beltre wanting a one-year deal so he can up his value.  If the Orioles can get Beltre on a one-year deal for $8 million or less they should jump on it yesterday.

    The Orioles have both Bell and Snyder on the way, but that should not preclude them from adding veteran options with an upside. Even if both Bell and Snyder have forced their way onto the roster by mid 2010, Beltre still has value to this club as either a platoon mate for Bell and or trade bait.

    As long as the contract is reasonable, signing Beltre should be at the top of the Orioles to do list this offseason.


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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.