Red Sox Sign Adrian Beltre, O’s Set With Atkins

The Boston Red Sox have signed Adrian Beltre to a one year, $10 M contract ($9 M in ’10 and $1 M for the buyout of a $5 M player option that will almost certainly be declined). As a reminder, the Orioles signed Garrett Atkins to a one year, $4.5 M deal. Awesome.

Career
Atkins: .289/.354/.457, .351 wOBA, 106 wRC+, -5.0 UZR/150 at 3B
Beltre: .270/.325/.453, .335 wOBA, 107 wRC+*, +13.9 UZR/150 at 3B

* Moving out of Safeco will do Beltre good. He’s a better hitter than it’s appeared the last few years.

2009
Atkins: .226/.308/.342, .291 wOBA, 67 wRC+, -0.7 UZR/150, -0.4 WAR
Beltre: .265/.304/.379, .305 wOBA, 87 wRC+, +21.0 UZR/150, 2.4 WAR

Reasonable projections for 2010 (assumig $4 M/WAR)
Atkins: .265/.335/.425, -5 UZR, 1.5 WAR (550 PA), worth $6 M
Beltre: .270/.325/.445, +13 UZR, 3.4 WAR (525 PA), worth $13.7 M

Additionally, Atkins probably comes with more down-side risk, is largely Ty Wigginton plus, and provides possible negative externalities in that his bad defense might have an effect on the young pitchers.

That I’d rather have Beltre – who is the much better player – is obvious. Here’s what I said about Beltre when looking at options for third-base previously:

“Adrian Beltre missed some time this year and his walk rate went down, but he still played his usual excellent defense (14.7 UZR/150) and so was still a valuable player. For his career he’s a .270/.325/.453 hitter, and that would be about what we could expect out of him if he played in Camden Yards (moving away from Safeco should help him). He has expressed interest in staying on the West Coast and playing for a contender, but if the O’s offered him a 2 year, $18 M deal I think that might sway. Such a deal would probably be the upper bound of what would be reasonable, so if they could somehow get him on a one year deal at less than $10 M I would be pretty happy. [Edit: In retrospect, Beltre's probably closer to a 3 WAR player and so 2/$27 would be a fair offer. And he might go 3-4 years in that case as well. Looks like he's probably not an option.]“

Why can’t the Red Sox spend money like the Mets? You know, stupidly. That would make things easier for the Orioles. Sigh…