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Red Sox Agree to Terms with Beltre

01.04.10 at 7:49 pm ET

WEEI.com has confirmed reports that the Red Sox and free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre have agreed on a one-year, $9 million deal that includes a $5 million player option in 2011. The terms were first reported by Peter Gammons (via Twitter).

There is also an escalator clause in the contract that could increase the value of the player option based on the number of plate appearances. By virtue of the inclusion of the player option, the Red Sox’ luxury tax hit will be diminished. Rather than being calculated as a $9 million salary for the purposes of the collective bargaining tax in 2010, Beltre’s deal will be interpreted as being worth $7 million against the $170 million threshold for the 2010 season.

The 30-year-old Beltre played in 111 games with Seattle last season, hitting .265 with eight homers. The three previous seasons, Beltre clubbed 25, 26, and 25 home runs, respectively. Beltre is known as one of the best defensive third basemen in the game, which is one of the major reasons he was targeted by the Red Sox.

‘€œ[Beltre is] clearly the best [third baseman] I’€™ve ever seen in person,’€ Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon told WEEI.com earlier this offseason. ‘€œI think [Evan Longoria] is good, I used to think Scott Brosius was really good. ‘€¦ [Eric] Chavez was good, but Beltre was stupid good. I think Beltre is the best who I’€™ve ever seen with my two eyes ‘€“ defender, not just third baseman, but defense.’€

A source familiar with the negotiations also classified the rumored swap of Sox third baseman Mike Lowell and Mets second baseman Luis Castillo as not close.

For more on the Sox’ motivation in securing Beltre, click here.

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