- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 5, 2011

ARLINGTON, TEXAS (AP) - Adrian Beltre is taking over as the everyday third baseman for the AL champion Texas Rangers, and Michael Young is switching positions again.

The Rangers introduced Beltre as their new third baseman Wednesday after agreeing on a $96 million, six-year contract with the All-Star.

“We all know that the Rangers have a really good team. I want to win,” Beltre said. “The team is willing to do whatever it takes to get to the next step. That’s one of the factors to make my decision to come here easier.”

Beltre gets $14 million this year, $15 million in 2012, $16 million in 2013, $17 million in 2014, $18 million in 2015 and $16 million in 2016. The Rangers can void the final season if Beltre fails to have either 1,200 plate appearances in 2014-15 combined or 600 in 2015.

Beltre is expected to hit fourth behind AL MVP and major league batting champion Josh Hamilton and ahead of slugger Nelson Cruz. The lineup also includes Ian Kinsler and Young, the six-time All-Star and franchise career hits leader who will be switching positions for the third time in eight seasons.

“The organization had a taste of something last year, finished a few games shy of our ultimate goal,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “Everything that we’ve been talking about and looking to do this offseason has been in the name of improving the club to a point where we can win the division and get back to the World Series and ultimately win it. This signing is very much in line with that goal.”

The Rangers lost to San Francisco in five games in their first World Series appearance after beating the New York Yankees in the AL championship series.

Beltre, a two-time Gold Glove winner, hit .321 with 28 homers, 102 RBIs and 49 doubles in 154 games during his only season with Boston and was an All-Star for the first time in his 13-season career. He became a free agent after turning down a $10 million player option.

Beltre said he called Young, the Rangers‘ longest-tenured player going into his 11th season.

“I have a huge respect for Michael,” Beltre said. “Him willing to do that for me, it means a lot.”

Beltre wouldn’t discuss what was said in what he called a private conversation, but when asked if that included thanking Young, Beltre responded with a slight smile and nod.

“In that vein of winning and team-first mentality … what one of our stalwarts and franchise players in Michael Young has agreed to do to make the team better really speaks to that,” Daniels said.

The 34-year-old Young, who has three years and about $48 million left on his contract, will become a designated hitter while playing a utility role.

“It’s clear that I want to play with the Rangers,” Young said. “I’m willing to make some pretty big sacrifices in order to do that. Obviously, this is pretty significant in terms of my career path.”

Young was a second baseman when he became a starter for Texas in 2001, then switched to shortstop after Alex Rodriguez was traded in 2004. The Rangers moved Young to third base two years ago when they decided to promote rookie shortstop Elvis Andrus from Double-A.

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