The 2010 season could probably be described as a monster contract year as well. After signing a cheap one-year deal with the Red Sox, the 31-year-old has been everything Boston could ask for and more. He's hitting .327 with 27 home runs and 96 RBIs. In a year in which the Red Sox have seen incredible amounts of uncertainty, Beltre has been a rock.
But as he enters free agency, the Sox must think long and hard about trying to re-sign the third baseman. Sure, if you could guarantee that Beltre would put the same kind of numbers he's put up this year for the duration of his next contract, the Red Sox would ink him in a heartbeat. But just ask the Mariners and they'll tell you it doesn't always work that way.
The M's signed Beltre to a five-year, $64 million deal following the 2004 season. In that walk year of 2004, Beltre made even his 2010 numbers look weak. He hit .334 for the Dodgers while driving in 121 runs and hitting an NL-most 48 home runs.
In his five seasons with the Mariners, though, Beltre only averaged 21 home runs and 79 RBIs, while never hitting over .276. Those numbers aren't terrible, but coming off this kind of season in a market like Boston, there's a good chance Beltre's asking price will be just as high as it was following the 2004 season — especially considering the fact that his agent is Scott Boras.
The Red Sox will have to make a tough decision. They'll have to look at the numbers and try to decide what type of player they'll be getting if they decide on trying to re-sign him. He's given them an incredible one-year audition, but how will that project long-term?
At the same time, the Red Sox almost owe it to Beltre to offer him some sort of a deal. He's shown an incredible amount of heart, playing through injuries and playing hard every night.
Those close to the team say that Beltre is interested in staying in Boston. He likes his teammates, he likes the organization and he likes the fans and the city of Boston. Perhaps his appreciation for playing in Boston will help bring the price down some, especially considering Beltre isn't searching for that first big contract.
The Red Sox may have to make a deal for him as well simply to ensure he's not someone who's coming back to Fenway Park multiple times in a year in a different uniform and reminding Boston of the mistake they may have made.
Taking that all into account, where will Adrian Beltre be playing in 2011?
Share your thoughts below.
Sunday, Sept. 12: Which Red Sox player would make the best NFL player?
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