Multiple sources confirm that the Red Sox have agreed to a one-year, $9 million deal with a player option for $5 million. Beltre will fill the void the Red Sox have at third base, and opens up a possible trade with the now useless Lowell.
This is a pretty good deal for the Red Sox. They got him cheap, he’s a pretty good player, and he fits right into their needs. But does he fit into the team?
Using data from fangraphs.com, we see that Beltre doesn’t come close to your typical Red Sox star.
First, lets just go with some stats. Beltre is 31 years old. He has been injured many times in his career. He is a .270 career hitter, with a below average .325 career OBP.
The thing that popped out to me was 36.8% of the pitches Beltre swings at are out of the strike zone. Compare that to the Red Sox team average which is 22.6%, the lowest in the Majors. He also swings at 54.2% of the pitches he sees, compared to the Red Sox team average of 42.3%, again the lowest in the Majors.
Last, let’s look at the Bill James projection for next year. Barring an injury, James predicts Beltre to hit .269 with 17 home runs and 78 RBI’s. Again we look at the essential free agent signing question: Is the team better now then they were before? Well, considering Lowell hit .290 with 17 home runs and 75 RBI’s in 2009, the Red Sox are no better suited now then they were before.
The bottom line here is that Beltre flat out does not make the Red Sox a better team. He doesn’t fit into the patient apporach of the team. That, along with his often injuries, make him a huge threat to the success of the Red Sox. Sure he can be good, but he can also be a disaster.