Adrian Beltre officially becomes a free agent by declining $10 million player option

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As expected, Adrian Beltre has declined his $10 million player option for 2011 and will hit the open market following a monster year that saw him bat .321 with 28 homers and a league-leading 49 doubles for the Red Sox.

After an injury wrecked, career-worst campaign for the Mariners last season Beltre turned down some multi-year offers to take a one-year, $9 million deal from the Red Sox in the hopes of increasing his value and taking another crack at free agency.

He succeeded in a big way, and while the deal also included a player option that increased from $5 million to $10 million based on playing time Beltre was so good this season that he’ll have no trouble getting several times that much in guaranteed money on the open market.

Beltre recently put his California home on the market for $19.8 million, perhaps suggesting that he’s thinking about relocating to the East Coast full time, but the Red Sox will have tons of competition for his services following an MVP-caliber year at age 31.