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Thumbs Up: Adrian Beltre Makes the Texas Rangers Better

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The race is on today. Which big announcement/press conference will arrive first:

The Dallas Cowboys hiring Jason Garrett or the Texas Rangers signing Adrian Beltre?

Let's go with Beltre, as the free-agent third baseman and agent Scott Boras arrived in town last night and agreed to a five-year, $80 million contract that could include a sixth year and definitely gives Rangers fans some positive off-season news after fanning on pitchers Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke.

Beltre is an upgrade from Michael Young. He's three years younger with a Gold Glove in the field and more average and power at the plate. He's got some idiosyncrasies to his make-up -- for the longest time he didn't wear a cup and don't dare touch his head -- and there are nagging rumors about him being an iffy teammate, but the dude can yank the ball around the yard. In 2004, he hit 48 homers for the Dodgers and finished second in the MVP race and last year in Boston he led the AL with 49 doubles.

Assuming Young will graciously accept his demotion to designated hitter, the Rangers' Opening Day lineup could look thusly:

SS Elvis Andrus

DH Michael Young

LF Josh Hamilton

3B Adrian Beltre

RF Nelson Cruz

2B Ian Kinsler

1B Mitch Moreland

C Yorvit Torrealba

CF Julio Borbon

That lineup should be comaprable, if not better, than the one that pushed Texas to last season's World Series. It's basically Beltre and Torrealba instead of Vladimir Guerrero and Bengie Molina.

Advantage 2011. I think.

Would I rather the Rangers go to spring training with Lee and Guerrero rather than Beltre and Brandon Webb? Of course. But at least for today -- for a change this winter -- the Rangers got better.

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