The Rangers’ hot corner will remain in the capable hands of Adrian Beltre for two more seasons after the club officially struck a deal to keep the star in Texas. Beltre, a client of the Boras Corporation, will reportedly earn $36MM in the pact.
Beltre just turned 37, but remains one of the game’s very best third basemen — as he has been for much of his excellent, 19-year career. It now seems likely that he’ll finish things off in Texas, where he’s played ever since signing as a free agent before the 2011 season.
Talks had reportedly taken place all spring, but it took a bit longer to get things across the finish line. Beltre has certainly helped his cause in the early going in 2016, recording a .310/.370/.571 slash and two long balls over his first 46 plate appearances. And he’s continued his sterling glovework with four Defensive Runs Saved already credited to his ledger.
Beltre has consistently rated as a very good-to-outstanding defender at third base, and he’s largely maintained that level of play even while entering his late thirties. Coming into the season, the biggest question was whether he could return to the top-level offensive production he carried over 2010-14, or whether last year’s dip was a sign of broader decline. While dealing with significant thumb issues, Beltre still managed a sturdy .287/.334/.453 batting line in 2015, but that fell far shy of the .316/.364/.535 slash he compiled across the five preceding campaigns.
At $18MM a year, Beltre’s new contract falls just a bit shy of the AAV achieved in the winter of 2014-15 by Pablo Sandoval, who got $95MM over five seasons. It’s easy to see why the veteran was willing to settle for a bit less to ensure that he would remain in Texas, where he’s enjoyed a phenomenal run, but the contract appears to be quite a nice investment from the team’s perspective. (The Rangers have already made out like bandits on their original contract with Beltre, which ended up paying him $96MM over six years with its 2016 option included.)
After all, Beltre has already compiled a Hall-of-Fame worthy resume — and that’s not just because of his early-career work. Indeed, he’s fourth in all of baseball among position players in total fWAR since the start of his tenure in Texas. The glove provides a strong floor, and Beltre’s bat seems a good bet to continue producing even if his 30-homer seasons are a thing of the past. He’s succeeded at the plate in large part due to impeccable plate discipline and a propensity for making frequent, hard contact.
Simply put, there’s no way that the Rangers could have found anything close to this kind of value on next year’s free agent market. Even in his “down” 2015, the veteran racked up 4.6 fWAR and 5.8 rWAR, and he seems set to do that and more with better health in 2016. Indeed, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes noted back in February that a three-year deal of $60MM or more seemed a reasonable target on the open market next winter, had Beltre been allowed to reach it.
It’ll be interesting to see how the signing impacts the Rangers’ other decisions moving forward. The club is now locked in at third, short (Elvis Andrus), and second (Rougned Odor), yet likely expects top youngsters Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo to be fully prepared for big league action in 2017. Either could profile as major trade chips, though there’s probably also room to be found. After all, Profar could provide insurance if Andrus can’t turn things around, and Gallo — a third baseman by trade — could factor in the outfield or slide in at first for pending free agent Mitch Moreland. If everything breaks in the club’s favor in terms of health and development, it’ll ultimately be a good problem to have.
MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan first reported that a deal was nearing and had the final salary (links to Twitter). Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported the term and salary parameters, and tweeted that the deal was in place pending physical.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Yay! This is just awesome!
No Soup For Yu!
Glad to see hell be sticking around for a little while longer. Also, I guess this means Gallo will be shifting to 1B duties for now.
he’s gonna look great in a padres uniform
Padres? Tyson Ross wouldn’t net one of the Rangers big four position prospects. Have to be a Sonny Gray, Chris Sale, and maybe one blue chip prospect for Julio Teherán. Ross is good, but not worth just Gallo straight up
Doesn’t bode well for Jose Bautista. Beltre is similar age and similar talent level and he only get $18M a year.
I’d much rather have beltre than Bautista
Bautista’s reported demands are a little crazy if you ask me. That being said, someone will likely pay him.
Watching Bautista play RF makes you realize he is becoming a one dimensional player. So, he doesn’t compare to Beltre for me.
He’s already looked great to start the season so I’m glad they got a deal done
If he goes into the hof does he go in a dodger or a ranger, right now I’d say Dodgers, but if he keeps playing like he is now he is definitely a ranger
I’m not sure he’s a HOFer right now, but he’s very close. He should reach 3k hits which is normally a lock. His career in Texas has been better than it was for any other team including LA in virtually every category. I suspect the Rangers will be regretting this deal but….it’s their money.
Are you kidding me? He’s a no doubt HoFer. Your baseball intelligence needs some checking if you think otherwise.
He is an easy HOF player and he would obviously choose the Rangers.
I think he will go in as a Ranger
Damn my season is getting better and better. We can’t win a game and the top free agent on my wish list is already off the market. Woulda been a feat stop gap 3rd baseman til Riley was ready. I wanted Beltre and Cirvelli to come in and be veteran leaders like Sid Bream and Terry Pendleton did for us in 91. Oh well back to the drawing board I know Ruiz is lighting it up at Geinnet thus far do maybe he steps in. If that is the case then I hope they spend the money to pick up Wieters.
Ya because Beltre would’ve wanted to sign with the worst team in baseball in a full rebuild to finish out his career….
Wade Boggs did.
Woulda had to overpay on dollars and years which I said I woulda did no problem in earlier posts
Beltre’s sustained performance is something fairly remarkable, and he seems like a shoo-in for the HOF- more than any other active position player except for Albert (I’m leaving out A-Rod for obvious reasons) and it’s not close. Beltre;s cumulative bWAR now stands at 84.9. The closest active player besides Albert is Beltran at 68.6, and then Miggy at 65. The only other active player above 50 who has any chance (slim) of catching him would be Cano. Yet, he might have some trouble getting in, especially when the early years of his candidacy might line up with the last few years of eligibility with steriod-era players.
Cano will be in the MLB another 8 years. Assuming he plays out his entire contract and retires after, his first year on the HOF ballots will be in 2028. That’s a Long way away.
MLB dropped the 15 years on the ballot down to 10 too, so pretty much every player in the steroid era will be in the HOF already or off the ballot by the time Cano is up there (except A-Rod, who would be on his 6th or 7th year on the ballot at that time)
I wrote that clumsily. My first point is that, besides A-Rod and Albert, the only active players within 25 bWAR of him are Beltran, Cabrera and Utley. Beltran is 39, Utley 37 (and not really a competitor) and Miggy is 33. Cano is also 33.
Beltran has this year left on his contract. He has said he wants to play longer–that’s obviously to be seen, Cabrera is signed through his age 40 season, with a couple of vesting options. Cano is signed through age 40. Beltre is signed through age 39, and if he’s still competent, a year 40 season is not out of the question. There could be overlap between all four players. You can also throw in there Ortiz, who is distant in terms of WAR but clearly has a lot of support–he’s likely to be on the ballot at the same time, as the thinking about (real or alleged) PED use continues to evolve. I would just add that the PED-era is not completely over. There are still players failing tests, and there are still stories still untold.
My overall point is that Beltre is probably not going to be thought of as first ballot material–538 made this point a year ago–his case rests in part on the value of advanced metrics that tradition-minded baseball writers haven’t fully embraced. That stretches his candidacy out somewhat, and may lead to some competition that is unpredictable.
Great points guys… Beltre signing is a great deal for the club. A great example of ‘it’s about more than the money (particularly when someone has already surpassed ‘multi generational changing’ earnings) … I really really cannot believe a Boras client extended ..
I disagree about Utley. I think he gets in given he was one of the best offensive 2B of his era. Last few years his numbers have been down but I still think he’s got a better shot than most other 2Bs of his time.
Not writing him off. He’s got a real chance–terrific peak–but he probably needs to right himself just a bit, put a little bit more up. But he’s going to get votes.
Utley will not make the HOF.
Yes, we all know how much the Hall of Fame voters look at bWAR and fWAR.
Beltre has had a very under the radar HOF career, but his numbers stack up well. I’m surprised he took a 2yr deal, let alone for <$20m AAV. He must really like TX bc he could have easily squeezed a 3rd yr out of a team as a FA for the same or more AAV. Great re-up for TX bc he should continue to mash.
Beltre reminds me a lot of Paul Molitor. Neither even came close to being thought of as a potential future Hall of Fame player until they reached about the age of 33, then they both turned it on. I still remember when Beltre was nearly as big a free agent bust as Pablo Sandoval after he signed in Seattle. Or at least he was thought of in those terms back then. I never really was a fan of his teams, but his personal turnaround has pleased the general baseball fan in me.
I think some of that was a result of playing in safeco. If memory serves me correct walls have been moved in.
Yes there were definitely reasons his stats went down upon the move to the Mariners, but no one really cared at the time. They just noticed his homers dropped by 50% and were mad that the M’s wasted a lot of money on a “mediocre” slugger that only played well because it was the last year of his Dodgers deal. I remember that being a big topic at the time.
The Adrian Beltre
Beltre may not have given Seattle what they expected for their money, but he wasn’t at all a terrible player: his wins above replacement his five seasons there were 3.2, 5.4, 3.8, 5.6, and 3.3(three of those years were top-notch with the glove). He was sub-par at the plate his first and last season there, but sandwiched three very good ones in there(in big SafeCo at that). No question that he’s turned it on since leaving Seattle though.
That was before WAR was really a stat that was taken seriously by most people. That’s why I said it was thought of at the time. Molitor also had that 4.0-6.0 range in WAR, but no one cared or even knew about that at the time. He didn’t start to really get HOF thought until Toronto IIRC. Beltre didn’t really start to get HOF thought until Texas, probably not until the last two years or so in fact.
If he makes it to the HOF, and I strongly suspect he will, it goes to show that being heathy and good for a long time is greater than being incredible for a few years and burning out.
Truth. Baseball is about consistency!
Went from wanting Beltre and Cirvelli next year to wanting Wieters and Prado but maybe Ruiz has turned it around and we will get to see him before the season is over.
Beltre’s 2004 season always stands out to me. He went from 24 homers in 2003 to 48 homers in 2004. He hit .334/.388/.629 in 2004 and no one is suspicious about that year. Either way he’s a great player and HOF bound, but that year always makes me think of PED use.
The Adrian Beltre
Thank you baseball gods! What a player and what a deal! This guy, at 37, has already earned 1/3 his season’s pay(according to bRef WAR), and is taking less for the next two seasons. In this short start, he is raking and his defense has been flawless(Texas has been playing Seattle and Baltimore, so I’ve really been enjoying some incredible 3B play). Totally worth it, no doubt. Made my day.