Today, the Phillies came to terms with free agent 2B/3B Placido Polanco on a three year/$18 million dollar deal. On the surface, one would imagine that this deal would be good news for Adrian Beltre. You see, Beltre is thought to be the better player because of his power hitting ability, great defense at third base, and not to mention that Beltre is younger than Polanco.
All signs should point to Beltre receiving a multi year deal that far exceeds the 3 year/$18 million, right?
Well actually, maybe not a deal that far exceeds. The Phillies were one of the few teams out there, who were looking to splurge on a new third baseman. Now that the Phillies are off the market, one has to wonder what suitors Beltre will have left that have the ability to give him a long term deal. The Polanco contract effects Beltre more than say Chone Figgins or Mark DeRosa because those guys can play other positions while Beltre can only play third.
The market for Beltre does not look great outside of the San Francisco Giants. Beltre would be a great fit in San Francisco and would immediately fill their need for a quality defensive third baseman, who can hit in the middle of the order. The one thing to keep in mind here is that the Giants already have $57 million committed to their ballclub in 2010, which doesn't count the $10-$20 million they will have to pay Tim Lincecum in arbitration. If the Giants payroll tops out somewhere in the $80-$90 million dollar range, they might not have the means to offer Beltre the type of deal he covets.
Aside from the Giants, the market for Beltre is actually very weak. Here are some other teams that could be interested if the price is right:
Mariners: It remains to be seen how interested the M's are in retaining Beltre, but given his production at the plate and defensive ability, I'm sure they'd be happy to retain him for less than the $13.4 million he made in 2009.
Red Sox: If the Sox can find a way to move Mike Lowell, I'm sure that they'd love to bring Beltre on board.
Twins: If they can find a way to fit Beltre in their payroll (which should be going up!), then Beltre would be a wonderful fit.
Outside of those three teams, those are the only logical suitors I can see on the market right now for Beltre, which leads me to this point: will Adrian Beltre seriously consider accepting the Mariners arbitration offer? After running down the list of teams thought to be in interested in Beltre, it might not be a bad idea of him to accept arbitration, make $13 million+ in 2010, and try to put together a big 2010 season and re-enter the free agent market in a year. This scenario is a risk, but it would put a lot of money in Beltre's pocket now and set him up nicely to cash in after next season when he will be just 31 years old.
***Should Beltre accept the Mariners' arbitration offer?***