Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is looking for a three-year deal in extension talks with the club, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports (Twitter links). He’s also hoping to out-earn Pablo Sandoval on an annual basis, per the report, which would suggest a deal with an average annual value in excess of $19MM. Presumably, that contract would kick in following the 2016 campaign, as Beltre is already guaranteed $18MM for the upcoming season.
As things stand, unsurprisingly, there’s said to be a “significant gap” between the sides. If nothing else, it seems that there’s quite a bit of negotiating left to do to find agreement. We have heard recently about mutual interest in a deal, however, as Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported.
Beltre will soon turn 37 and dealt with a significant injury to his thumb last year. But he was still a productive hitter in 2015, with a .287/.334/.453 slash, and was arguably the game’s very best defensive third baseman. It also shouldn’t be forgotten that he was coming off of a five-year run in which he averaged a remarkable .316/.364/.535 batting line and 6.7 rWAR annually.
It’s obvious to see why Texas would have interest in keeping the veteran around, but there’s also good reason to think the organization will be cautious about promising him that kind of money through his age-40 season. In addition to age and injury risks, the Rangers have some promising options in their system, including former top prospect Jurickson Profar and power hitting youngster Joey Gallo.
Finding a middle ground could be a challenge, but still seems a plausible result. In his recent appearance on the MLBTR Podcast, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News opined that it could make sense to see a two-year contract in the range of Beltre’s current earnings — i.e., somewhere in the range of $16MM per year. However, Heyman hints that there’s a sense in Beltre’s camp that he outperformed his prior deal (which is undeniably true), and that could have an effect on his stance in future talks.
As Steve Adams of MLBTR posited in a recent MLBTR chat, it’s not surprising to see a three-year request out of the gates from Beltre. For one thing, Beltre’s reported position is only a starting point: it’s worth noting that, as Grant stated on the podcast, talks haven’t yet progressed much given the team’s other prerogatives. And advanced age doesn’t always preclude that length of contract in free agency. Carlos Beltran landed three years and $45MM from the Yankees for his age-37 through age-39 campaigns, and he wasn’t really even close to Beltre in terms of overall on-field value given his increasingly apparent defensive limitations in the corner outfield.
As things stand, Beltre is set to be one of the few premium players set to hit the open market next winter. He profiles as a future Hall-of-Famer and ranks fourth in total fWAR dating back to 2011, so he presents something of a unique player. Jose Bautista, who is about two years younger, is said to be seeking a $30MM (or greater) AAV over a five- or six-year term, and there’s certainly an argument to be made that Beltre represents a more appealing investment at his reported asking price.
Truth be told, there aren’t many straightforward comparables for a Beltre extension, in large part because it’s unusual to find players who have performed at such a high level — at a difficult defensive position, no less — at this stage of their careers. Entering his age-38 season with free agency beckoning, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz got another season and $16MM guaranteed from the Red Sox, with a vesting option and second option year at floating prices depending on the prior years’ plate appearances. At the end of a productive 2013 season, the slightly younger Chase Utley signed on for two more guaranteed years at $27MM with a series of vesting options (in an even more complicated deal with the Phillies). Utley, however, had a spottier recent track record due to a series of knee injuries that understandably gave the Phillies pause.
While those agreements fall shy of what Beltre is seeking, it’s fair to note that some huge extensions have promised premium salaries up to or through players’ age-40 campaigns. That was the case for players like Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Albert Pujols, and Alex Rodriguez, though of course all of those deals also covered more youthful campaigns. But, in some sense, every time a monster contract pushes control towards or past a player’s 40th birthday, the hope is that the player profiles as well as Beltre does now when the end of the deal approaches.
In the end, those contracts don’t really tell us much about Beltre’s own late-career earning power, as the late-30s years that were guaranteed in each of those deals was the cost of locking up the remaining prime seasons of each of those stars. Few players have maintained this level of productivity into the late stages of their career with the prospect of another bite at free agency looming, so any contract he signs will ultimately be deemed as something of a precedent-setter for aging-but-elite players that still hold open-market aspirations.
Texas has to sign him. Even with 3 more decent seasons, Beltre ends up in the Hall as a Ranger.
He’s going to the Hall even if he hangs them up today!
Right now he’s a fringe guy. If he can go 3 more seasons (healthy), he probably becomes a near shoe in by passing the 3,000 hit mark, nearly 500 career HR, Tossing in a few gold gloves and a guy who seemed to always do things the right way and he’s a second/third ballot guy IMO.
The guy is 37. 3 years is a risk. If they do not care if they pay dead money in years 2 or 3 or both, then sign him an hope he stays healthy and can still complete. 3 years at 37 is scary.
I agree, but these three years is just letting Beltre touch records and maybe ending up in the HoF as a Ranger. Only reason he might actually hit the HoF is because he’s about 300 or so hits away from 3000 and he has at least 400 HRs so far. The extension would be like the 3 year contract Carlos Beltran got from the Yankees; which has paid off so far because of Beltran’s production last season.
No, he’s going to be a hall-of-famer because he’s been an above average hitter and a premium defender for his career, and a premium hitter for a while. He won’t catch Brooks Robinson, but he’s already the all time second most valuable 3B defensively. 3000 hits (if he gets there) and 400 HRs will only pad his already-solid case.
Normally a three year commitment would be terrifying. With Beltre’s history of durability and production despite an advanced age, it’s only a little scary.
I see the problem as the dollar amount Beltre wants. Assuming Beltre’s health, will he ever be that hitter who batted .300 and hits 30 home runs again? But then, if you compare him to other players putting up similar field production as Beltre, maybe a yearly salary close to $20 million is asking to much
18-20 million isn’t anything crazy. I could see two years at this with a mutual option for a third. Don’t forget to factor how elite his defense is, plus a .280 hitter with 20+ hr pop.
With the amount of fans coming out to see him hit milestones, it’ll be a worthwhile investment. We’re not talking ARod money here..
Its really a 4 year commitment considering it wouldn’t kick in until next year. I love Beltre! He might just be my favorite player of all time but with that said I’m just not comfortable with giving him 3 more years at his age. If his defense falls off drastically we have nowhere to put him with Prince in the DH role. If he would take 2 years at slightly higher aav then okay but why not just let the season play out and see where things stand with Gallo and Profar before you commit to the old man?
If the Rangers have a replacement ready, say bye, bye. It makes no sense to sign him if they are planning to contend. The dollars will be needed for extending younger players, or acquiring needed talent. If they only want to sell tickets to the sentimental, pay him for his HOF milestones.
You could make the argument he is needed talent. If you remove him and Desmond from the roster and plug Gallo into 3rd next year your lineup will likely look like
Thats 6 left handed bats.
What about a 1/20MM deal with two years of vesting options at the same price. Seems like that should be about all Texas should go in for.
Sure Texas would do that but the article states he wants 3 guaranteed years. He could probably get it on the free market too.
You always ask for more than you expect so he will probably accept 2 years and an option for 3.
He’s been a helluva performer for Texas. One of the few FA’s they’ve signed who has really lived up to the contract he signed for. I disagree he has “outperformed” his contract because when he signed it, he was one of the highest paid players in the game. He wasn’t paid to deliver 10hr, 60rbi seasons. He had just come off a year in Boston where he hit 28-102 .321. THAT’S WHAT THE RANGERS PAID FOR! He also had a huge payday earlier in his career when he signed with Seattle and DIDN’T perform to the levels the M’s hoped for after his last great season in LA. Bringing up Sandoval as a comparison is not relevant because frankly, Boston just made a terrible deal to sign Panda. Same with the Yanks and Carlos Beltran. But the Yanks have money to burn. If Joey Gallo develops this year and is hitting well, there’s no reason to resign Adrian. Yes, he’s team leader, will probably go in the HOF and is getting close to magic numbers. But this is business and the idea of having a minor league system is to develop players to take over and play in the show for less money than the vets. If Gallo is a bust, it’s a different deal. The last couple seaons, Beltre’s power numbers have dropped and there is a lot of miles on that body after 18 years in the bigs. There’s no logical reason to believe that in 2017-2020, he’s going to be a 30-100 .300 guy.
I agree but Gallo can always move to 1st or play corner outfield. If they can sign Beltre for 2 years and keep the leader in place I’m all for it. I just get really nervous about more then that. A big part of his value is defense. Not many old guys playing good defense at 3rd base.. His range has already shown signs of decline.
Give him a 2 year deal with a vesting option for the 3rd.
All about how they structure it. 3 Year Deal, with the 3rd year as a Club Option, 1 M buy-out.