Every once in awhile, the Red Sox pick up a veteran player for a year, or just the stretch run that was a star at one point that I become fascinated with. It's a player that is basically only a role player at that point in their career, but may show flashes of their old brilliance. It's so unusual to see them as a member of the Red Sox, that I try to find as many of their cards as possible. This series will be about some of those players.
Adrian Beltre resurrected his career in Boston in 2010. At the age of 25, he lead the National League in home runs with 48. He then signed a long free agent contract with the Mariners, who played in a notorious pitcher's park. He still managed to hit 25 or more home runs in three of his five seasons in Seattle, but his overall hitting numbers were down.
He signed with the Red Sox to a fairly cheap one-year contract and promptly put up big enough numbers that he was able to get a new big multi-year contract. Beltre was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable 2010 season in Beantown. He hit .321/.365/.553 for the Red Sox with 28 home runs and 102 RBIs. He lead the league with 49 doubles. He also played terrific defense at third base.
Beltre was an All Star selection in his only year in Boston and won the Silver Slugger for his position. He also finished ninth in the AL MVP race. At the end of the season though Boston did not make much of an effort to resign him. Eventually they traded for Adrian Gonzalez and moved Kevin Youkilis back to third base. Beltre signed with the Rangers where he has put up big enough numbers that he is now considered a possibility for the Hall of Fame.
I was very disappointed that the Red Sox declined to sign Beltre, but the Gonzalez move was a good one for the 2011 season. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Beltre stayed. But with the way Middlebrooks is hitting the last few days, I am okay with how things worked out.