MLB Trade Rumors: Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers third baseman, is a free agent after the season, and the Rangers are out of the playoff race, so the assumption has been that the Rangers would move Beltre in the next month, with teams such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians identified as possible suitors. Ken Rosenthal, however, in his latest notes column, says that the Rangers end up holding on to Beltre for the remainder of 2018.
As we have discussed before, the situation with Beltre, a likely future first-ballot Hall of Famer, is complicated, due to the Rangers wanting to, as Rosenthal puts it, do right by Beltre, as well as his 10/5 rights giving him the ability to veto any trade. That, combined with Beltre’s ailing legs, which necessitate a fair amount of rest and time at the DH spot, complicates the market. Rosenthal further says that the Rangers would want a “quality return” if they dealt Beltre, rather than just saving money.
Perhaps most interesting is Rosenthal highlighting that the front office wants to avoid a rancorous split with one of its iconic players. The Rangers have in recent years had ugly separations with Pudge Rodriguez, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Michael Young — some of the best players to wear a Ranger uniform, and players who are thought of first and foremost as Rangers. Rodriguez and Hamilton, of course, ended up returning to Texas after those bad splits, and Young reconciled with the organization and is now part of the front office, but given that history, one can understand why the team doesn’t want to alienate Beltre, whether that be by trying to force a trade he doesn’t want, or by refusing to move him if he feels the right opportunity is out there.
Rosenthal highlights Cleveland and Boston as possible fits, should a deal happen. Boston has Rafael Devers at third base currently, and while he’s the future there for them, he’s had a rough 2018 campaign...Boston could look to add Beltre to fortify the position and give them a righthanded DH for those times when they opt to sit Jackie Bradley, Jr., and move J.D. Martinez from DH to the outfield. Cleveland, meanwhile, could slide Jose Ramirez to second base in place of the struggling Jason Kipnis, and slot Beltre at third base, though they are reportedly more interested in Manny Machado right now.
All that said, at the end of the day, the Rangers aren’t likely to move Beltre unless he specifically asks them to, and even then, with the 10/5 clause, he’s only going where he wants to go. The team, as has been made clear, values his presence in the clubhouse, and given he has said that he wants to play for the Rangers in 2019 if he opts to play past this season, and if Beltre were to accept a trade, it seems likely it would be to join a team that he views as a serious championship contender for 2018, rather than a team fighting to try to claw its way into a Wild Card Game.