Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Should Adrian Beltre Have Accepted the Mariners' Arbitration Offer?

Shortly after Adrian Beltre signed a one year contract with the Red Sox, it became apparent that Beltre left a nice chunk of change on the table. Beltre only got $9 million guaranteed from the Red Sox, a far cry from the 5 year/$65 million dollar deal that agent Scott Boras was looking for.

But there is another interesting sub-plot to the Adrian Beltre signing. Back in December, Beltre declined the Mariners' arbitration offer because he was seeking a multi year contract that exceeded $10 million dollars annually. If Beltre had accepted the Mariners' offer, then he would have been in line to make roughly $12 million in 2010, which is $3 million more than he wound up taking with the Red Sox.

One could say that Beltre and Boras took a calculated risk by declining arbitration in the hopes that a huge contract would be out there for Beltre. Even if that contract was not there, Boras and Beltre obviously felt confident enough in the market that Beltre could land a similar one year contract (around $12 million). Sure Beltre would be leaving money on the table, but the chance to explore the market was a risk worth taking.

Also, the decision to decline arbitration goes right back to earning potential. With what team does Beltre have the best opportunity to land a huge contract? That answer, obviously, was not with the Mariners. Ask yourself this-where does Beltre have the best chance to put up big numbers in 2010-with the Mariners at the spacious SAFECO Field or elsewhere? I'd have to put my money on elsewhere.

So even though Beltre left money on the table just by declining arbitration, in the end I think that was the right move.

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