Adrian Beltre, Rangers agree to deal

Updated: January 6, 2011, 3:10 PM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

The Texas Rangers and Adrian Beltre have agreed to a contract that could pay the free agent third baseman $96 million over six years.

"We all know that the Rangers have a really good team. I want to win," Beltre said Wednesday. "The team is willing to do whatever it takes to get to the next step. That's one of the factors to make my decision to come here easier."

Beltre gets $14 million this year; $15 million in 2012; $16 million in 2013; $17 million in 2014; $18 million in 2015; and $16 million in 2016. Only five years and $80 million of the contract are guaranteed. The Rangers can void the final season if Beltre fails to have either 1,200 plate appearances in 2014 and 2015 combined, or 600 in 2015. The club may also defer $12 million of the 2016 salary with 1 percent simple interest.

Per his contract, Beltre gets to wear jersey No. 29 with the Rangers. Center fielder Julio Borbon wore No. 29 for Texas last year.

Texas appeared in its first World Series last season, losing to San Francisco in five games after beating the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series.

"The organization had a taste of something last year, finished a few games shy of our ultimate goal," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Everything that we've been talking about and looking to do this offseason has been in the name of improving the club to a point where we can win the division and get back to the World Series and ultimately win it. This signing is very much in line with that goal."

The Rangers were spurned in their attempt this offseason to keep Cliff Lee, even after offering the ace left-hander $138 million over six years. Lee instead returned to Philadelphia.

The acquisition means Beltre will be the club's starting third baseman, with Michael Young shifting to designated hitter and a super-utility position.

Beltre, 31, hit .321 with 28 homers and 102 RBIs for the Boston Red Sox in 2010. Beltre, a two-time Gold Glove winner, was also solid with the glove at third base, allowing the Rangers to improve their infield defense.

Beltre led the American League in doubles with 49 and was an All-Star in 2010. He has impressive defensive numbers and was plus-10 in defensive runs saved while Young was minus-13.

Young said Monday evening that he was willing to move positions for the second time in three seasons and the third time since 2004 to accommodate Beltre.

"I want to do what's best for a winning team," Young said. "That's always been the case and it always will be. I'm willing to do what I need to do to help this team."

Young said he did not want to be traded. He was told his role would be primarily as a DH, but that he would also spell the regulars at most of the other infield positions. He's played second base, shortstop and third base in his career. Manager Ron Washington said Wednesday that the Rangers will work out Young at first base as well.

Beltre said he spoke by phone Wednesday with Young, the Rangers' longest-tenured player going into his 11th season.

"I have a huge respect for Michael," Beltre said. "Him willing to do that for me, it means a lot."

Beltre wouldn't discuss what was said between the two, calling it a private conversation. But when asked if that included maybe thanking Young, Beltre responded with a slight smile and nod.

Young, 34, will be making the third move since 2004, when he shifted from second base to shortstop so that Alfonso Soriano could play second.

He then moved to third base in 2009 for rookie Elvis Andrus, the club's shortstop obtained in the Mark Teixeira trade with the Atlanta Braves in 2007. Young made that move just months after winning a Gold Glove at shortstop.

"In that vein of winning and team-first mentality ... what one of our stalwarts and franchise players in Michael Young has agreed to do to make the team better really speaks to that," Daniels said.

"It's clear that I want to play with the Rangers," Young said. "I'm willing to make some pretty big sacrifices in order to do that. Obviously, this is pretty significant in terms of my career path."

Young likely will stay at his customary No. 2 spot in the lineup with Josh Hamilton hitting third. Beltre gives the Rangers a bat that can protect the AL MVP, much the same way Vladimir Guerrero did in 2010.

With the acquisition of Beltre, there is no need to bring Guerrero back after he hit .300 with 29 homers and 115 RBIs in his only season with the Rangers. Texas had been in discussions with Guerrero this offseason, but Daniels said those have now ended.

The Rangers will have to surrender a first-round pick to Boston as compensation for Beltre, who has just signed the second long-term deal of his career. He earned a five-year, $64 million deal from the Seattle Mariners in 2004 after his best statistical season in 2004, when he hit .334 with 48 homers and 121 RBIs with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Beltre hit .266 with 103 homers during the life of the five-year contract in Seattle. Once that expired, Beltre took a one-year deal worth $10 million from the Red Sox in 2010 so that he could re-establish his value. The strategy certainly worked for Beltre and agent Scott Boras.

Washington said he is already looking forward to filling out his lineup card on Opening Day April 1, when the Rangers open the season against Beltre's last team, the Red Sox.

Beltre described his time in Boston as a "good experience" and said it was a fun place to play.

Beltre has some incentives in his deal with the Rangers. He can earn $250,000 for an MVP award and $200,000 for finishing second, $150,000 for third, $100,000 for fourth and $50,000 for fifth. A World Series MVP nets Beltre $150,000, while he can earn $100,000 for being MVP of the League Championship Series. He gets $100,000 for being an All-Star, $100,000 for a Gold Glove and $100,000 for a Silver Slugger.

Beltre also agreed to donate $100,000 per year to the Rangers Foundation.

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. Information from ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney and The Associated Press was used in this report.