Except for one year in LA (2004 where the numbers were off the board and suggest that Adrian was doing something other than just lifting weights), Beltre has managed to OPS in the .800's just twice. Hmmm, same as EE has but in less than half the time. AB's career OPS: .780. EE's career OPS: .789.
As far as defense goes, I appreciate that you acknowledge that defensive numbers are, ummm, let's say unrefined as yet. But defense at 3rd base is different from most positions. 'D' at third is not about range; 'D' at third is about reflexes, hands and feet. Very seldom does a 3rd baseman make a critical play to his left that includes range. If the ball gets through to the 3rd baseman's left it's going to be a single and, unless it drives in a run, it's 'managable'. The significant play for a 3rd baseman is to his right and that's usually a reflex and timing type of thing. If that ball gets by then the pitcher is looking at someone in scoring position usually.
It's my opinion that EE has the reflexes and hands to play third. It's where his feet come into play that is his problem and, if you'll notice, it's usually on plays where he has plenty of time.
The difference between the two is not worth paying $13.4M to one player when you can get almost identical production out of the other for $2.425M.
JMO, of course.