Adrian Beltre is not alone.
As the once and potentially former Red Sox third baseman walks hand-in-hand with agent Scott Boras into his last big free agent push, he finds company in a slew of notable players who are taking a similar path.
Several big names are on the free agent market after just one very productive year with a team, a la Beltre, who signed a one-year deal with Boston before negating a player option and hitting free agency, fresh off his best season since 2004.
Such players present intriguing scenarios. Like Beltre, many are in their 30s or even as old as 40, as is the case with Jim Thome. Like Beltre, they busted their behinds to produce a quality year before hoping to lock up that last big long-term deal. And like Beltre, many have the respect of the fans in the cities they have called home for one season, but the connection can never be as strong as it is with someone who stays in one place for years.
What that could mean is that teams are less willing to go that extra mile to re-sign these players, knowing that although the fans might appreciate a guy like Beltre, they don’t have a strong emotional connection. His departure might hurt the lineup next year but there won’t be many Beltre posters left hanging awkwardly in the bedrooms of New England children. They never had much time to go up.
In this regard, these one-and-done players could be a tad more expendable than the average free agent.
The first few members of this lengthy list have already shown the ease with which it’s easy to leave town. John Buck played one season in Toronto after several in Kansas City and used a breakout effort to secure the biggest contract of his career with Florida.
Joaquin Benoit, considered one of the top relief pitchers on the market after making his one year in Tampa an impressive one, nailed down a $16.5 million contract with Detroit.
Those are the first two on this list of players who went to a new team for one year, lit it up (most of them), and then went elsewhere for big bucks. Could Beltre be next?
In addition to Beltre, Buck and Benoit, here are some others who fall into this category: Aubrey Huff, Bill Hall, Johnny Damon, Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Jim Thome, Brian Fuentes, Orlando Hudson, Troy Glaus, Andruw Jones, Jon Garland and Brad Penny.
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