2:11pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that in exchange for guaranteeing the option in advance, Beltre has agreed to juggle his salaries a bit (Twitter link). Beltre will now earn $16MM in 2015 instead of $18MM, while his 2016 salary will jump from $16MM to $18MM.
1:07pm: The Rangers announced today that they have exercised their 2016 option on Adrian Beltre in advance, meaning that he will be guaranteed $16MM. The Rangers had the ability to void the option if Beltre didn’t reach 600 plate appearances in 2015, but GM Jon Daniels said over the weekend that he was considering removing the clause and locking in Beltre’s salary, as he didn’t want the clause to become a storyline.
Beltre, 36 in April, is coming off another typically excellent season, having batted .324/.388/.492 with 19 home runs and excellent defense at third base. He had been slated to enter the final guaranteed year of a five-year, $80MM contract signed in the 2010-11 offseason, but he’s now guaranteed to earn the full $96MM maximum that was available to him on the contract.
While one could argue that there’s risk involved with locking in that salary ahead of time, it’s unlikely that Beltre would suddenly deteriorate to the point at which a $16MM salary in 2016 would look like a substantial overpay. His defense alone gives him a considerably higher floor than most players, and he’s been very durable over the past three seasons, averaging 155 games per year.