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Ross Newhan / ON BASEBALL; Priced to Move?; Beltre has long frustrated Dodgers; now that he's playing as they'd always hoped, they may not be able to afford him
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Payroll costs; Contracts; Free agency; Professional baseball -- Los Angeles Dodgers
Author: Ross Newhan
Date: May 11, 2004
Start Page: D.1
Section: Sports; Part D; Sports Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

He made the point, however, that [Adrian Beltre]'s situation is difficult to compare to any other recently signed third baseman because few free agents come on the market with premium statistics of the type Beltre is producing at 25. The potentially attractive Troy Glaus of the Angels will be 28 when eligible for free agency in November, but most free agents, particularly third basemen, are 30 or older when they hit the market with experience and production comparable to that of Beltre.

"You have to look at A-Rod," [Scott Boras] said, referring to the 10- year, $252-million signing of Alex Rodriguez, then 25, by the Texas Rangers in December 2000. Boras said he didn't mean that Beltre would qualify for a similar contract but that there are few 25-year- olds of that stature from which to draw comparisons.

"Adrian's ceiling can only grow," Boras said. "He'll have another five years before he's 30, and he would have a real advantage over other players in the market. In fact, players of that stature rarely get to free agency. Teams generally understand what they have and don't let it happen. In Beltre's case, there's going to have to be a premium paid in years and dollars."

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