TUESDAY, 7:50am: "I can't believe that we have an interest in either," remarked Rangers president Nolan Ryan on Galloway and Company yesterday. Ryan doesn't see K-Rod as an upgrade to his bullpen, and he's worried about Beltran's health and salary.
Beltran and the Rangers are not an obvious match, since Texas is set at the outfield corners with Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. Of course, there are ways to make it work, as Hamilton and Beltran are capable of playing center field. Plus, Hamilton and Cruz are not locks to avoid the DL from here on out. The 34-year-old Beltran is hitting .278/.372/.480 with 10 home runs in 317 plate appearances on the season, in what is likely to become his healthiest season since '08. Beltran's $18.5MM salary and full no-trade clause, as well as the Mets' status as wild card contenders, could be obstacles in a trade.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, has an 8.18 ERA in 11 games this month. He's 26 games finished away from having his $17.5MM option for 2012 vest. That target could be down to 15 or so by the trade deadline, so it's safer to trade K-Rod now. Though a trade would be a clear manipulation of his vesting option, the closer appears open to waiving his no-trade protection. Even teams with established closers would take on risk in acquiring Rodriguez, since he could be thrust back into the ninth inning if the incumbent stopper is injured. A trade agreement might have to address such a scenario. And don't forget, Rodriguez earns a hefty $11.5MM this year.
The Rangers and other teams seeking relief help have plenty of options beyond K-Rod and all his baggage. The Rangers have more trade chips than anybody, in the opinion of one scout who spoke to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).