Adrian Beltre, huh?

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

All it took was people reading the words Pirates and Adrian Beltre in the same sentence in this article for the emails and questions to begin rolling in. I know it’s not every day that you hear about the Pirates going after big-name free agents, but for those of you who are already finding out what size uniform he’ll need, let’s temper those expectations for a bit.

One thing to consider given the myriad rumors you’re going to hear over the next few months is that just because a team calls an agent to find out an asking price, that doesn’t mean that team will become a true bidder for that player. It’s Neal Huntington’s job as a general manager to make calls and find out player expectations. A lot of those conversations will never include a second phone call. Others will. That’s the beauty of this time of year.

When it comes to the top crop of free agents — and it’s fair to put Beltre in that category this year after his stellar 2010 season – most teams are going to put out feelers. Again, GMs wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t. But making a phone call is just that. It’s simply a phone call.

Now, while I’m not inferring that the Pirates aren’t going to be willing to spend this offseason, I just don’t see anything working out with Beltre. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Beltre is unquestionably the top third baseman available in the free agent market this winter. That, alone, increases his value. It means the suitors are going to be numerous, and it often can mean a player gets more than he might actually be worth.
  • Beltre’s agent is Scott Boras, who isn’t going to be providing any discounts. Through Boras, Beltre already turned down a $10 million option to stay with the Red Sox in 2011. That means two things. 1. Beltre believes he can get more on the open market. 2. He’s likely seeking a multi-year deal after an All-Star season. More guaranteed money is always the way to go.
  • In explaining his decision to turn down the option, Beltre told members of the Boston media that two factors will play into his decision on where he signs for 2011. Those would be: chances of winning and family considerations. Given the Pirates’ string of losing seasons, Pittsburgh isn’t likely to meet Beltre’s first requirement. Furthermore, his family lives on the West Coast, so moving from Boston to Pittsburgh wouldn’t do much to help that strain.
  • If the Pirates were to make a serious run at Beltre, they would have to allocate the majority of their available dollars to lock him down. What would that mean for the holes in the starting rotation? Well, it would mean the club would be limited in their external options to fill those holes. In my opinion, improving the starting pitching has to be a big priority this offseason if the club wants to take steps forward in 2011, and a good chunk of the Pirates’ available resources — not just a few leftover dollars – need to address this deficiency.

This is all just food for thought… and a way to hopefully stop the influx of Beltre emails. Again, keep in mind that much of what you will read over the next few months will never come to fruition. Rumors are often just rumors. And sometimes the deals that end up panning out are the one you don’t hear about until the last minute. Sure, it’s fun for you to speculate. And it’s my job to try and bring in the sound reason.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

6 Comments

I agree… we need to look at the pitchers in the free agent market… and besides… PEDRO ALVAREZ.

Why bring in a third baseman when you have a solid guy over there with a rifle for an arm?

Don’t fix what isn’t broken! Offensively, our only REAL hole is shortstop. You could make an argument for a catcher, but I think Doumit is good enough to be batting 6 or 7 in a good line up. You could make a case for 1b… Jones back to RF? Or Jones a situational player? I mean, he didn’t show us all star stuff. And with RF.. we have so many guys going for that job. I really like Milledge out there. He was one of our more consistent hitters and hit very well with RISP.

But basically… we only need experience behind the plate to produce consistent numbers. We can score runs… we just can’t keep the other teams from scoring in the first 3 innings.

Starting pitchers lost 85 games!!! That’s RIDICULOUS!

McDonald will be good… but not if we make him an Ace. Same thing with Ohlendork. Pick either Duke or Maholm… but not both. So bring in two big free agents to pitch for us. That’s probably a starting rotation that can spark some wins. Maybe even consider bringing up some of this young pitching that we have in our system for trades? We have too many young pitchers in our system to keep them all. Either get rid of some or bring them ALL up and make them prove themselves. haha.

Pittsburgh is tired of losing. We have a contending hockey team, a football team that’s always good, and this is a town that is RICH in baseball history! We need to win ASAP! No more losing! Rebuilding doesn’t take 15 years.

By the way… I like Clint Hurdle… let’s see if they lose him to another team like they did with Eric Wedge.

Spend the money we all KNOW you have, Pirates.

No on Adrian Beltre.. he’s not worth it anyway. He’s had some horrible seasons, as well.

While all the points you raise are valid, given the dearth of young/quality starting pitching available as free agents, it’s equally possible that Huntington might weigh signing Beltre and trading Alvarez for an equivalent quality/under control SP. The A’s and Jays both have holes at the hot corner and an abundance of high quality, controllable starting pitching. Wouldn’t Kyle Drabek look good in a Pirates uniform!

SILLY, SILLY, SILLY. No matter who the player, no matter what the position. No matter what the situation, the Pittsburgh Pirates would never, EVER, spend 40-50 MILLION DOLLARS on one player. This is the same team that has had a past pay roll around that amount, meaning the WHOLE TEAM makes 40-50 MIL. What makes anyone think Pirates ownership will spend the 30+Million in profit over the past 3 seasons on improving the team??? Come April a few roll players, maybe ONE mid level starting pitcher will be the extent of their spending. 10 MIL tops, MAYBE. Sad but true. Every player, all spending patterns under current ownership every year support this fact regardless of Fan outrage, or simply “what you going to do about it?”

Sign Beltre, Alvarez to 1B, Platoon Jones and Milledge in RF, trade Doumit, pick up a legitmate 2 spot starter for $8 Million per year, total payroll would be about $55 million and instant contender.

The easiest way to fix our pitcing is to improve our defense. The fact is that bringing in one of the FA pitchers really isn’t going to help our team. The defense is so bad, especially on the infield, that unless we being in a power flyball pitcher, the pitcher we bring in isn’t going to help. Ohlendorf as looked decent pitching for us because he is a flyball pitcher. Duke and Maholm both look decent when there is an infield behind them that can field, and both look horrible when there isn’t.
Unfortunately looking at Beltre’s defensive metrics, his fielding % is only slightly better than Alvarez’ was last year, but he has much better range. So while he would be an upgrade at 3B, I don’t think it would be enough to make us a contender.
I do disagree that signing him would take us out of the running for a decent FA pitcher though, it is just a matter of perspective. Aaron Harang may actually be a better pitching option for the current make-up of this team than Jake Westbrook, even though Westbrook is the better pitcher at this point in their careers.

You people are nuts for not believing in Pedro! It was his first year in the pros! I thought he did great. He showed me that he had some range. He can throw a guy out at first from foul territory in shallow left field! Dudes arm is AMAZING! Moving him to first base would be slightly foolish, in my opinion. He is only going to get better over time. I agree about the defense not being there for our pitchers, but two out of our four infielders are young. They can improve this off season. I think that if we can make a defensive upgrade at short stop, then our infield will be fine.
As far as making a trade to get Kyle Drabek, I’m down with that. Package up three players, maybe Bowker, Milledge, Jones, D. McCutchen, Locke, Young, Snyder, or one of our other prospects. The Blue Jays need a little help in their outfield as well as at first base/DH. We help them in those areas, and throw in a pitching prospect, I think we may be able to pull off the trade.
You CANNOT get ride of Alvarez, A. McCutchen, Walker, or Tabata! They are our future! And a pretty good one from what I have seen from them. If we can keep them together, and build around them, this team can win in the near future. I say if we can add one or two pitchers, a short stop who can plays great defense, and a coaching staff who knows how to coach (Clint Hurdle) then we have a chance to contend very soon.

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