Do you think Scott Boras is going to settle for sloppy seconds when it comes to what Adrian Beltre has coming to him? There is no way to look at what Beltre has produced and consider him to be any less the player that Torii Hunter was when he was at the same stage of his career - and coincidentally, both became free agents after completing the season in which they turned 31 (Hunter after 2007, Beltre after this past year).
In his Age 29, 30 and 31 seasons, Torii Hunter played 405 games. His OPS in his Age 29 season was .788 (he only played 95 games that year). In his Age 30 season his OPS was .826 and his last year in Minnesota it was .839. He got $18 million a year for five years.
In his Age 29, 30 and 31 seasons, Beltre played in 408 games. His Age 30 season saw him play only 111 games. His OPS in those seasons was .784, .683 (injured) and .919 ... If you consider that last number inflated by Fenway Park consider that Torii played at the "HomerDome" for all his career and Beltre was exclusively in pitching parks before 2010.
Torii maintained his healthy numbers in the first three years of his contract even with concerns that the Metrodome turf might have taken the life out of his knees. Beltre plays great 3B, easily saving his pitchers more runs than any player in the game.
Beltre has actually played almost two hundred more games at the major league level than Hunter (1835 to 1651) and both have a career batting average of .275 and a career OPS+ of 108.
The only question from Tony Reagins and Arte Moreno to Scott Boras should be how backloaded a contract Boras would accept (considering Gary Matthews Jr and Scott Kazmir combine to make over $24 million in 2011) for his client. Considering the Werth and Crawford deals, Hunter money had to have been the base when this offseason started and it would be a show of good faith after those messy post-2008 Mark Teixeira negotiations for Boras to keep the Beltre contract demands within range of Torii's money.
Two 31-year old All Star above average hitters who play great defense at critical positions. Torii Hunter was 3 months shy of his 32nd birthday when he took the field as an Angel on opening day in 2008. His new paycheck was $18 million a year for five seasons. Adrian Beltre will be a week shy of his 32nd birthday when he takes the field on opening day. No matter if it is with the Angels, the Athletics or another team, Beltre will take the field in 2011 with a comparable paycheck.