Jeff Pearlman

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Adrian Beltre

The Texas Rangers are supposedly about to offer Adrian Beltre a six-year, $96 million contract.

Huge mistake.

Last season, Texas played with as much heart and hustle as any team in baseball. They weren’t the American League’s most talented outpost, but, as a unit, they had a genuine cohesiveness other organizations long for. The guys who make up the heart of Texas’ team—Josh Hamilton Vlad, Michael Young, David Murphy—are guys who grind it out. They really do, and to watch the Rangers surge through the playoffs was a thing of joy.

To me, adding Beltre is the equivalent of an NBA team adding on a Gilbert Arenas. He looks good, and the numbers add up, and he produces in bunches. But will he go all out every night? Will ne happily take one for the team? No.

I think of the early Seattle Beltre, just coming off of his huge year with the Dodgers. He was a true dog in Seattle—content, lazy, distant. Ask him, and he’ll tell you it was the NL-AL adjustment. Baloney. He made the money, and he coasted.

Talent-wise, Beltre ranks way up there. But a contender would be unwise to place him on the field every day. Especially when he’s not playing for a new deal.

  • StringerBell

    Disagree 100%. I saw Beltre up close and person in Boston and he worked his ass off. He’s one of the best defensive third basemen in the game and he played hard every game last year, even when the Red Sox were well out of playoff contention. He was one of the few bright spots on the team. This might be a little bit of an overpay, but if Beltre doesn’t produce, it won’t because of effort.

  • Sean

    Vlad is a first ballot HOF’er; Josh Hamilton has the talent to be a HOF’er, and Michael Young is one of the better second basement in the game over the last decade. The reason they surged through the playoffs is because they are an immensely talented team, and not because they are “grinders.”

    And for all the heart and hustle that the Rangers played with, they won exactly 1 more game than Beltre’s Red Sox (90 to 89), and the Red Sox clearly play in a much tougher decision.

  • http://jayaresea.com Joe Creighton

    The Mariners paid Beltre 64mil for 5 years. In terms of what teams paid per WAR each of those seasons (roughly 4mil per), and what Beltre produced each of those 5 years, he was worth 68mil. Then last year alone he was worth a little over 28mil.

  • http://www.19thoughts.blogspot.com Byron

    Obviously, I like your blog. I like the way your write and agree with a lot of what you say.

    But this is one the dumbest things you ever wrote. After watching Adrian Beltre for 162 games in Boston last year, the dude was not lazy and was as much of a hustler (and seriously, WTF does this even mean? It’s lazy writing, Jeff. It really is.) as any player that I’ve seen.

    The guy was an absolute beast at the plate and aside from a few early season hiccups, was better than advertised in the field.

    While this may not be the best deal for Texas (they’ll probably rue it in two or three years) it’s not because Beltre will dog it or not “hustle” (blech) it’s because he’ll be older and start wearing down.

    And seriously? David Murphy? You take nine David Murphys and I’ll take nine Adrian Beltres, let’s see who wins.

  • Wayne

    Read your post Jeff and immediately had to reply. But it looks like the other guys beat me to it. I never saw Beltre much before last year. But in that one year with the Sox, I’ve never seen anyone play harder and with more intensity than Adrian Beltre.

    I’d take that guy on my team any day and I’m sorry he isn’t going to fit in the Red Sox plans this year.

  • http://blessyouboys.com Matt in Toledo

    Of course Beltre hustled last year, he was playing for a new contract. You know, as opposed to the prior year when he was playing for a contract and didn’t put up good numbers. And apparently wasn’t hustling or something.

    The Rangers may very well have overpaid for Beltre, but how it plays out – whether they did or not – will have nothing to do with his hustle.

    Oh, and Michael “heart of the team” Young bitched and moaned about moving off shortstop for Andrus until he found out his albatross of a contract meant nobody else in the league wanted him and maybe he should just accept being an overpaid third baseman.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      bingo, matt.

  • http://blessyouboys.com Matt in Toledo

    I’m confused. Are there two Jeff Pearlman’s here? The only part of my comment that agrees with the post is the first sentence and I thought that was pretty obviously sarcastic.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      matt, i was joking. your point was clear.

  • Catherine

    “But will he go all out every night? Will he happily take one for the team? No.”

    The guy played 5 innings with a torn testicle. What more do you want? I mean, I suppose he didn’t do that EVERY night…

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/marinersblog/2009658197_adrian_beltre_to_dl_could_be_l.html

  • Brian

    Hey, Jeffy boy, how’d that Beltre signing go for Texas? You know, the team that’s currently playing in the world series? You know, the guy who tied a playoff record by hitting THREE HR’s in one game?

    This ‘article’ is nothing but lazy ‘journalism’ by an obvious hack with an apparent grudge. Beltre KILLED himself every single day out there…I wonder how good your articles would be, Jeffy boy, if you put the same kind of effort in that Beltre shows.

    Just a thought.

    • Jeff Pearlman

      Brian boy, you’re 100% correct right and just in that criticism.

  • Pingback: Of Bad Mechanics And Torn Testicles; Or, Why I Love Adrian Beltre [Fall Classical] | Sponsor szuka

  • The Dude Abides

    Brian, get real. Beltre only had a good season in Texas because he’s playing for his next contract. He did it in LA, he did it in Seattle, he did it in Boston, and he just did it in Texas. Big mistake by the Rangers to sign him. Huge.

  • Brandon

    Hahahahahahahaha….

  • Eli Jordan

    Is this a bit? I feel like this is some sort of joke.

  • Kevin

    Want a do over on this Jeff?

  • rick21

    What a stupid post. He’s earned every cent of that contact so far. Jeff, you need to learn to cite some evidence for your wild theories. Otherwise you’re just throwing shit against the wall in a reckless manner.

  • DavidMacArt

    rick21, this article is from January 4, 2011 before Beltre had even played an inning for the Rangers. Jeff was basing his theory on the three mediocre years Beltre had in Seattle after signing a gigantic contract with them based on a HOF year with the Dodgers in 2004. This was the generally accepted assessment of Beltre at the time. Thank goodness Jon Daniels was able to see the real Beltre.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

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