Texas Rangers rumors: MLB trade season has been expected to feature Adrian Beltre as rumors start getting hot in advance of Major League Baseball’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Beltre, a free agent at the end of the season, has a full no-trade clause, but with the Rangers pretty much out of the race, the thought has been that Beltre would likely not just approve, but potentially request a trade to a contender in the coming days.
However, in his latest notes column, Jon Heyman says that Adrian Beltre wants to return to the Rangers in 2019, and so isn’t necessarily going to waive his no trade clause for just any deal, though Heyman says Beltre has indicated he is willing to consider being traded. This would shift the dynamic for the Rangers in terms of a potential Beltre trade, and if true, might indicate that Beltre isn’t actually going anywhere this summer.
The Beltre trade market was already complicated by Beltre’s 10/5 rights, which give him the absolute ability to veto any trade. Beltre’s ongoing physical issues further complicate matters, as he has been DHing roughly have the time since returning from the disabled list as he seeks to manage his balky leg muscles. A National League team wanting to acquire Beltre is going to have to either plan on him playing third base on something less than an everyday basis, or roll the dice that he can stay healthy. Meanwhile, there appear to be only five legitimate playoff contenders for the five playoff spots in the American League, and the only team that would seem to possibly have a spot for a 3B/DH would be the Cleveland Indians.
How much weight to put on any rumor this time of year is always a struggle, and in this case, it is certainly possible that this is something put out there by the Rangers in an effort to get teams that are interested in Beltre to offer something of value for him. That said, there’s always been a question about whether Beltre would accept a trade to a team that is a potential playoff contender, but faces an uphill battle, such as the Philadelphia Phillies. If Beltre isn’t pushing for a deal — and if he, in fact, wants to stay in Texas through next season — it would make it less like a team like that could make a deal work.
The sense has always been that the Rangers want Adrian Beltre to play in Texas for as long as Beltre wants to play, and so if he wants to return for 2019, my guess is the team will bring him back. However, it does have some potential implications from a roster management and playing time standpoint. Shin-Soo Choo has been more or less sharing DH duties with Beltre, playing left field when Beltre DHs while other players shift around. Choo has been terrific with the bat this year, but he’s not a good defender, and as has been discussed at length, his presence is a large part of why Willie Calhoun (like Choo, someone who is best suited for DH, but who can play left field) is still in AAA Round Rock. If the Rangers do bring back Beltre next year in a 3B/DH role, it likely makes moving Choo (which means eating enough of the $42 million due to him from 2019-20 to make a team willing to trade for Choo) more of a priority for Texas.
Its worth noting as well that this report is coming from Jon Heyman, who has a reputation for being tight with Scott Boras, who is Adrian Beltre’s agent. That history does make this seem to carry a little more weight in regards to what Beltre wants. Of course, a Beltre return to Texas in 2019 could impact the playing time for fellow Boras client Jurickson Profar, though Profar would reportedly rather play shortstop than third base anyway, and shortstop is currently manned by Boras client Elvis Andrus.
In any case, this may mean nothing. Or it may mean something. Personally, if Adrian Beltre wants to spend the rest of his career with the Rangers, I’d be on board with that.