Following in the footsteps of their rivals, the New York Yankees, the already rich Boston Red Sox just got richer. Unfortuately, for the rest of AL East followers this deal hardly makes a dent in Theo Epstein's purse. Multiple outlets are reporting that the Red Sox have signed Adrian Beltre to a one-year deal worth $10 million dollars with a player option for 2011 for just $5 million dollars (deal is pending a physical). Of course, the player option is just a fall back for Beltre in case his career falls apart or he suffers a major injury; a cup might help avoid that.
Playing in Safeco field put a bit of a damper on Beltre's offensive numbers, but his career wOBA is slighly above average. He's had one tremendous season (2004), a couple of good seasons(2000, 2006, 2007), and then some pretty unimpressive ones (2001, 2002, 2008). Despite the relatively average stick, Beltre's glove remains one of the games best. His career UZR/150 is near 14 and over the past two seasons he's averaged ~18. Even if you bump him down for some age related regression, he is still a premier defender at third base. Not only that, but Beltre manning the hot corner means Kevin Youkilis can move back to his post at first base, which only helps to further improve a defense in need of some upgrades.
If we take Beltre's career wOBA of .335, and assume his defense remains top notch, he would easily clear the 4 WAR mark. The Red Sox are paying him like a 2-2.5 WAR player. If by some crazy chance his HR/FB repeats it's ridiculously low 5.6%, and his wOBA remains around the .308 mark, then his defense should carry him to that 2-2.5 threshold making the deal worth the Red Sox one-year investment.
For most teams a $10 million dollar investment is hardly considered a low-risk move, but under these set of circumstances it kind of is. The Red Sox are hoping Beltre can be that 4 WAR player, however, they are not tied in to a long-term deal if not. They also have enough pieces to cover themselves should Beltre completely implode. If that happens, and he picks up the player option, then the deal doesn't look as nice, but it's hard to imagine that scenario.
We've heard many analysis mention this as a buyers market; the Red Sox just took that theory to heart. Instead of wasting 16 plus million dollars on Jason Bay, Boston turned around and signed Mike Cameron and Beltre, who combined will make nearly the same about of Bay. Instead of just getting one 3.5 WAR player, they picked up two for for the price of that one.