Ok, I have no idea what Theo Epstein hopes to accomplish in 2010. Because Adrian Beltre just screams "one-year-wonder-during-the-hight-of-the-steriods-era." I know its only a one-year deal, and that the Red Sox are angling to trade for Adrian Gonzalez during this season, but this signing makes no baseball sense to me.
You give up Mike Lowell's solid defense in exchange for Beltre's at times questionable glove. Additionally, Beltre struggled with injuries last year, and hasn't topped 30 homeruns more than one in his career (2004, when he hit 48). He has never walked more than 60 times and has posted OBP's of .303, .328, .319, .327, .304 in his previous five seasons. He is the spitting image of underachieving, overpaid mediocrity. And now he's our third baseman. WTF.
I have similar feeling regarding the Cameron signing--another free swinging 150+ strikeout guy who seems to betray our historic focus on plate discipline. The Lackey signing is odd only because we gave a long term deal to a pitcher who hasn't started more than 27 games in two years and is on the wrong side of his 30th birthday. I think we are going to see that in the post-steriods era players will begin aging again. We'll see. Regardless, by letting go of Bay and signing Lackey, we are turning into the 90's Braves: a franchise with excellent starting pitching (to win games in the regular season) and not enough offensive pop (to win games in the post season). I hope I am wrong on this one.
Epstein has always been one of the best drafting GM's in baseball--I would never question any of his draft choices. But his track record in free agency thus far has been less than effective. J.D Drew? Matt Clement? Edgar Renteria? I hate to say it, but I think we'll be adding to names to this list this season. My gut feeling is that after the Lackey signing, knowing he had already given up his first round pick to the Angels, Epstein in going to spend on free agents this season. But I'll go on record: I would trade Mike Lowell for Adrian Beltre straight-up and would take several other names on this list of free agents over Cameron (Rick Ankiel? Brian Giles? Randy Winn?). Salary flexibility is important, but so is fielding a winning team.