It has been reported that Adrian Beltre would prefer to not play for our Oakland A's, but why? Last year it seemed pretty reasonable when Beltre opted to sign with Boston for a one year deal to re-establish his market value after Seattle apparently suppressed it. But this year that logic doesn't seem to hold up since whatever contract he chooses to sign will likely be his last, or at least his last big contract, so it really doesn't seem like it would matter if Oakland sapped his offensive numbers just like Seattle did.
It seems fairly apparent that
Maybe his pride took a big hit when so many wrote that his Seattle contract was a bust and he expects everyone to say the same thing if he signs a big contract in Oakland. Maybe the A's facilities are really that bad in his eyes? Maybe he wants to play in front of sold crowds? Obviously, I don't know, but I have an idea that might get those in favor of a Beltre signing more optimistic about our chances of getting him, and it just might get those against a Beltre signing to change their minds.
What if Beltre's main concern is winning? I realize this isn't an entirely novel idea, but let me explain why I thought about this in the first place.
Many of Beltre's detractors point to 2004 and 2010's monster offensive seasons as an indication that Beltre only performs when a contract is on the line. Of course, 2009 was also a contract year and that was arguably the worst offensive season of his career. Then again, I would hardly blame a guy for having a down year in a year when a one-hopper to the groin put him on the DL to go along with surgery on his left shoulder. So does Beltre really only perform at his best when he's in a contract year and healthy? It could be random chance that 2004 and 2010 were his best years, but I think it's foolish to assume that and discard any other possible explanation. Maybe Beltre only performs at his best when he is on a competitive team?
[The r-squared for wOBA & Team wins is .338, FWIW. Thanks cuppingmaster.
Now if I could only figure out how to get an Excel chart into this post. Thanks elcroata.]
A quick glance at the chart will make it pretty clear that there isn't a strong relationship between team wins and his wOBA, but there does seem to be some relationship (
sorry that I'm too lazy tonight to learn how to get an r-squared in Excel thanks cuppingmaster). That being said, the two best teams he was on were the 2004 Dodgers and 2010 Red Sox. Of course, maybe those teams were good because Beltre was good, but regardless they were all playoff contenders. Maybe he really just wants to play for a winning team. I could hardly fault him for thinking that the A's, as of a few weeks ago, were only a .500 team (rationally that is). Add on to that our perpetual financial difficulties and it's reasonable to see Beltre not viewing the A's as a good bet to compete every year, or at least no more of a threat than the 2005-2009 Mariners.
Should anything be concluded from the numbers above? Absolutely not, but it's an idea. It's an idea that, if true, might imply that Beltre may be more willing to sign after seeing the A's go out and pick up the likes of Matsui, McCarthy, Harden, and Willingham. It's also an idea that might imply that we shouldn't just assume that Beltre would be incapable of replicating his 2010 offensive performance as an Oakland Athletic (remember that he hit better away from Fenway last year). Personally, I want him to sign with the A's really badly, because I think he would make us AL West favorites even if his hitting is league-average.