Yo, Adrian (Beltre)! Where You At? We're Waiting

Now it's time for us Sox fans to play the waiting game. A waiting game that could take just a few days, but it will probably feel like an eternity.

What are we waiting for? First, the Mike Lowell trade to go through. As we know, that's pending everything medical related. That could certainly hit a snag as both Lowell and Max Ramirez have injury history.

But we're also waiting for Adrian Beltre. If Theo Epstein is the general manager we know he is, he's trying to work out a deal for the amazing defender as you read this.

Don't be fooled: the Red Sox are most certainly interested in Beltre:

...it increasingly appears that they’re preparing to make a serious run at free agent defensive whiz Adrian Beltre.

According to multiple sources, the Red Sox are believed to have significant interest in the third baseman, whom they have long admired for his combination of defense and power.

[...]

But the Sox don’t view Beltre as just any player. They believe he is one of the most game-changing defenders in the majors. He’d perfectly fulfill their goal of completing a defensive makeover from 2009, when the left side of their infield was slow (Lowell) and inconsistent (the shortstops before Alex Gonzalez was acquired).

Let's take a closer look at Beltre's defense in comparison to Lowell's, courtesy of The Bill James Handbook:

Runs Saved, Third Basemen
3-Year Leaders
Beltre - +51 (2nd overall) *Ryan Zimmerman, 1st, 53

Runs Saved, Third Basemen
2009
Beltre - +22 (3rd overall)
Lowell - -18 (tied, dead last)

This is a 40-point swing in runs saved! Michael Young tied with Lowell with -18 -- and now they're teammates.

Plus/Minus, Third Basemen
3-Year Leaders
Beltre - +66 (1st overall)

Plus/Minus, Third Basemen
2009
Beltre - +27 (3rd overall)
Lowell - -23 (dead last)

This time, a 50-point swing.

For more information on Plus/Minus and Runs Saved, visit FieldingBible.com.

Hopefully that helps put Beltre's and Lowell's abilities at third base into perspective a little bit better. Simply, Beltre is much, much better. Lowell, who used to be an amazing defender, has seen his best days.

Now the offense may be more of a question mark in most peoples' minds. The Red Sox, though, seem to think Beltre in Fenway would be great for the third baseman:

Offensively, the Red Sox believe Beltre’s production could increase dramatically once he leaves Seattle’s expansive Safeco Field, which has depressed the production of many right-handed hitters.

The home/road splits certainly bear this out.

In the last three years, Beltre has posted a below-average .703 OPS at home but an above-average .819 OPS on the road. He’ll never be a high on-base percentage player (.325 lifetime), but if he slugs close to .500, as he has on the road, he’ll provide at least as much offense as the Red Sox could have expected out of the soon-to-be-36-year-old Lowell.

It all comes down to the contract. Beltre and agent Scott Boras want five years, but the Sox won't (shouldn't) get sucked into that deal. If they can bring him down to three, that'd be amazing, but unrealistic. Maybe three an an option for a fourth? Maybe just straight four with a club option for a fifth? The money will also be hookup (obviously -- we're talking Boras here), as they are seeking around $12 million a season. Seems a little steep considering Chone Figgins racked in four-years, $36 million. I'll take that deal for Beltre.

Now let's wait and see if Beltre comes aboard as the Hot Stove hopefully keeps true to its name (because it's cold, darn it).

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