There’s long been chatter of a possible extension between the Rangers and veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre, and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that there’s cause for optimism that a deal can be reached this spring.
Beltre is entering the final season of the five-year deal that brought him to Texas before the 2011 campaign. Texas exercised a club option for the 2016 season this time last year, locking in the decision ahead of time in exchange for a bit of salary shuffling on the part of Beltre.
It’s been a productive relationship thus far, to be sure, and both sides appear inclined to continue things past the present season. GM Jon Daniels said earlier in the winter that the club has interest in a new deal, and Beltre expressed much the same recently.
Beltre’s agent, Scott Boras, tells Morosi that there’s reason to think something can get done during camp. “I’d say there are certainly grounds for a discussion of advancing Adrian’s contract, yes,” Boras said when asked whether a deal could be in place by the start of the season. “I think Adrian already had a discussion with them, in which he expressed a desire to stay,” he added. “They want him there, and we’re going to work on that.”
It’s unclear at this point what kind of contract would be considered. Beltre will soon turn 37, is coming off of thumb surgery, and did slip a bit at the plate last year — posting a still-strong .287/.334/.453 slash after carrying a .899 OPS over his five prior campaigns. Then again, it’s notable that he managed not only to stay productive at the plate but also to continue playing premier-level defense while battling through the serious thumb issue for most of the year.
Certainly, Beltre would have plenty of value on the open market if he can match his 2015 campaign, and would be pursued that much more heavily if he can bounce back to his lofty prior levels. There’s some uncertainty, but also some upside, that will surely impact his earning capacity. On the other side of the equation, Texas will need to weigh the presence of rising players in the organization, including top prospect Joey Gallo and even former top prospect Jurickson Profar, whose respective development paths could impact the team’s infield mix. But even if those players hit their ceilings, there’s probably enough flexibility to get all involved the plate appearances they’d need. While Gallo is a third baseman by trade, he has dabbled in the outfield and could also slide across the diamond with Mitch Moreland headed for free agency.