As expected, Adrian Beltre declined his $10 million player option for 2011 on Wednesday, making him a free agent. Beltre reached 640 plate appearances in the final game of the season, which bumped his '11 option from $5 million to $10 million.
After a disappointing 2009 in Seattle, Beltre signed with the Red Sox and had one of the best seasons of his career, hitting .321 with 28 home runs, 29 doubles and a .553 slugging percentage. His .919 OPS and 141 OPS+ were his highest numbers since his 2004 season with the Dodgers; he finished second in MVP voting that year.
Demand figures to be high for Beltre, who will turn 32 in April of next year. As the top third-baseman on the free agent market, he stands to make more than $10 million. Theo Epstein has publicly said he'd like to keep Beltre in Boston, but the high cost and the player's desire to be closer to his family on the West Coast may prevent that from happening.
"I'll see what's best for me and my family," Beltre explained. "This year I was selfish enough, coming to the East Coast, knowing my wife was pregnant and she would be away from me basically for the whole year. This year is going to be more a family thing. It's been tough. I haven't seen family like l wanted to. We're going to settle down, discuss it, and see what's best for us."