Reasons why I hate Adrian Beltré
Why is it that nearly every time the Mariners sign some big name free agent with a hot bat, he comes to Seattle to go through his slump? Then, once he’s totally worthless and we trade him for next to nothing (or release him for absolutely nothing), he “finds his swing” again and leads his team to the postseason?
Seriously, there are dozens of examples of players who’ve done that. But none whom I loathe more than Adrian Beltré. After he switched numbers from 5 to 29 (Give $1 to the fans wearing Mariners No. 5 jerseys, because if they could afford another player’s jersey, they’d have bought one by now) I bought one of his #5 jerseys at Just Sports in the mall. There were dozens and dozens of them on the rack. I considered buying many – since they were only $8 apiece – and trying to sell them on Ebay, but the fact that he sucked so bad in Seattle led me to believe that he, like Richie Sexson, would flame out of baseball entirely and the jerseys would be worthless.
Fast-forward to 2009. I’m back at the mall looking for jerseys in my usual place (the clearance rack) and what do I stumble across? Dozens and dozens of Beltré jerseys – only THIS time it was the current #29! They couldn’t sell the jerseys, not because they were outdated…they couldn’t sell them because Beltré sucked in Seattle.
Exhibit A: Statistical Evidence
The LA Dodgers saw Beltré develop into a consistent and durable young star during his time with the team (1998-2004), as he hit .265 while hitting 18 homers a year (on average). Beltré was signed by the Seattle Mariners as a free agent before the 2005 season to a five-year, $64 million deal, and immediatly regressed to his pre-2004 form. He batted just .255 with 19 home runs and 87 RBI. Then-Manager Mike Hargrove did not give up hope on Beltré, saying, “I think it’s a season that, personally, he’s disappointed in. I think it was a year that he will improve on the longer he’s here and the longer he’s in the American League.”
2006 was, likewise, a disappointment for Beltré and led some to suspect that he had used steroids in his contract year of 2004, or at least had ramped up his production in order to be considered for a heftier contract. Beltré, in an interview for the Seattle Times, denied his dropoff in 2006 to have anything to do with steroids. After batting .167 through April 10, Ted Miller of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer suggested that Beltré may become one of the Mariners’ greatest busts.
The 2007 season wasn’t one of Beltré’s better defensive years statistically either. In 2007, he tied with Brandon Inge for the AL lead in errors by a third baseman with 18. He also had the lowest fielding percentage of all third basemen in the league, .958. Beltré declared free agency on November 5, 2009.
On January 7, 2010, Beltré signed a one-year, $9 million deal with the Boston Red Sox, which had a $5 million player option for 2011 with a $1 million buyout. Beltré led the Red Sox in batting average (.321) in 2010 and tied David Ortiz for the team lead in RBI (102). He finished the year with 189 hits in 589 at bats. He had 28 home runs and 84 runs scored. Beltré led the Majors in doubles, with 49 (also a career high). He also finished fourth in the AL in batting average, and was fifth in the AL in total bases (326) and slugging percentage (.553). He also had two stolen bases on the year, and finished ninth in the MVP voting. Twice that season, both against the Tampa Bay Rays, Beltré fell to one knee while he was swinging, but he was still able to hit the ball over the outfield wall for a homerun.
On January 5, 2011, Beltré officially signed a six-year, $96 million contract with the Texas Rangers. He was on the 2011 American League All Star team. On September 4, Beltré hit a line single to right against the Boston Red Sox for his 2,000th career hit. On September 11, 2011, Beltré hit two home runs, including the 300th of his career, against the Oakland Athletics. In the 2011 regular season, Beltré batted .296 with 32 home runs (5th in the AL). He was 3rd in the American League in slugging percentage (.561), 6th in RBIs (105), and 9th in OPS (.892). Through 2011, he led all active third basemen in career putouts (1,660) and errors (235).
And just yesterday, October 4, 2011, in an ALDS playoff game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Beltré became the seventh player—the first in a Division Series—to hit three home runs in a Major League playoff game.
Exhibit B: Photographic Evidence
This is what Adrian Beltré looks like as a Texas Ranger:
And this is what he looked like as a Boston Red…um…Sock:
*sigh*… And this is how we all remember him here in Seattle: