Adrian Beltre will be one of the most sought-after free agent position players if and when he declines his player option for 2011. Always a strong defender, Beltre has the Gold Gloves and exceptional UZR numbers to back up his reputation. This year, Beltre's hitting again; he has 20 homers to go along with a .333/.369/.565 line. Last winter, after a disappointing offensive season, Beltre fielded multi-year offers. There's no doubt that he and agent Scott Boras will see more of those trickle in this offseason. Here's an early look at some teams that could have interest in the 31-year-old:
- Red Sox – Kevin Youkilis gives the Red Sox the flexibility to pursue a first baseman or a third baseman. Beltre obviously fits on the Red Sox and it's never safe to underestimate Boston's spending power.
- Blue Jays – Edwin Encarnacion has power, but little defensive value. He's a non-tender candidate and the Jays presumably have Beltre on their radar as a possible replacement.
- Tigers – The Tigers have money to spend and needs to address this offseason, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes pointed out earlier today. Beltre could fit in Detroit, a destination of choice for many Boras clients.
- Angels – Brandon Wood was supposed to be the solution, but has struggled mightily at the plate. He, Maicer Izturis and Kevin Frandsen could be enough for the Angels, but the Halos may be tempted by Beltre's two-way play.
- Mariners – The last time Beltre hit free agency after a massive year, the Mariners spent big. Jack Zduriencik wasn't the team's GM back then, and he probably won't be the GM who signs Beltre this winter. Though Jose Lopez and Matt Tuiasosopo don't compare to Beltre, minor league third basemen Alex Liddi and Matt Mangini are both hitting well in the upper minors.
- A's – The A's, who tend to be tentative with long-term deals, offered Beltre a multi-year deal last offseason. That says Billy Beane & Co. like the veteran third baseman a lot.
The Yankees (Alex Rodriguez), Rays (Evan Longoria), Orioles (Josh Bell), White Sox (Dayan Viciedo), Twins (Danny Valencia), Royals (Mike Moustakas), Rangers (Michael Young), Braves (Chipper Jones), Phillies (Placido Polanco), Mets (David Wright), Nationals (Ryan Zimmerman), Cardinals (David Freese), Reds (Scott Rolen), Brewers (Casey McGehee), Pirates (Pedro Alvarez), Cubs (Aramis Ramirez), Dodgers (Casey Blake), Giants (Pablo Sandoval), Rockies (Ian Stewart), Padres (Chase Headley) and Diamondbacks (Mark Reynolds) all have viable big league third basemen under team control in 2011. That's not to say that those teams won't create room for Beltre and enter the bidding. It would only take one or two trades or injuries to change the list of suitors.