June 22, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre (29) hits a single in the second inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Beltre a Blue Jay? Rangers Shopping Slugger


The Texas Rangers uninspiring 35-42 start may see the team dealing pieces away at the trade deadline instead of stocking up for their annual playoff run, with star 3B Adrian Beltre at the forefront of trade rumours.  Adrian Beltre, now 35, has put up elite statistics since arriving in Texas in 2011, but a changing of the guard may soon be underway in Arlington.  Evan Grant of Dallas News reported earlier this week that Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels will be testing the market to gauge interest in some of the teams “core-type” players, Adrian Beltre included.

The Toronto Blue Jays appear to be an early candidate to add yet another Dominican power-hitter to their roster.  Adrian Beltre seems to be aging gracefully in Texas, as his past three seasons with the Rangers have all produced a minimum of 30HR, 92RBI, and a .296BA.

 

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG
2010 ★ 31 BOS 154 589 84 189 49 2 28 102 .321 .365 .553
2011 ★ 32 TEX 124 487 82 144 33 0 32 105 .296 .331 .561
2012 ★ 33 TEX 156 604 95 194 33 2 36 102 .321 .359 .561
2013 34 TEX 161 631 88 199 32 0 30 92 .315 .371 .509
2014 35 TEX 63 244 38 80 17 0 8 38 .328 .371 .496
17 Yrs 2339 8840 1215 2506 512 30 384 1345 .283 .335 .479
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/26/2014.

 

The only statistic that Adrian Beltre has shown decline in is Slugging Percentage, which one might expect from the 35 year old.  Perhaps the Rogers Centre would re-awaken this number, but even at their current levels, Adrian Beltre’s production would be a formidable addition to any lineup.  A battery of Cabrera, Bautista, Encarnacion, Beltre, and Lind through the heart of the Blue Jays order would surely be one of the most feared in all of baseball.

Putting offensive output on the back burner for a moment, the Blue Jays also appear to be a sensible option for Beltre due to the stability that he can provide defensively.  A player who struggled at 3B earlier in his career, Beltre has since developed into a top-5 defensive third baseman in baseball.  Adrian Beltre has collected Gold Gloves in 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2012.  If the Blue Jays were to acquire Beltre, he would join the defensively talented infield of Jose Reyes, Brett Lawrie, and Edwin Encarnacion.  Reading that sentence would make Mark Beuhrle smile.

The Texas Rangers have shown in the past, with their trade of Mark Teixeira, that they are not afraid to deal core players who are still producing at high levels.  In that trade, the Rangers received Matt Harrison, Elvis Andrus, and Neftali Feliz, all of whom played pivotal roles in the Rangers Championship seasons.  Adrian Beltre, of course, will require a significantly smaller package, but this will not stop the Texas Rangers from seeking a piece of their future core for a piece of their past.

With top prospect Joey Gallo climbing quickly through the Texas Rangers farm system, the Rangers may already possess an in-house replacement for Adrian Beltre over the next season.  Beltre’s contract, at his age, may be one of the most important factors in Jon Daniels’ decision this July.

Adrian Beltre is due $18M in 2015 (Age 36), and $16M in 2016 (Age 37) pending a vesting option in his contract.  The 2016 option is voided if Adrian Beltre fails to record 1200 Plate Appearances combined in 2014-15, -OR- if Beltre fails to reach 600 Plate Appearances in 2016 individually.  This is a valuable contract clause in place to protect the Texas Rangers from paying an injured Adrian Beltre late in his career.  Adrian Beltre has exceed this 600AB plateau in 11 of his 15 full Major League seasons (excluding current season and shortened 1998 debut season).  It should be noted that this is a contract under which Adrian Beltre could conceivably approach the 3,000 hit milestone.

This money can make sense for the Blue Jays (and hopefully, for Rogers), but it must be a point of hesitation for Alex Anthopolous and his staff.  Playing half of his games on the turf in Toronto may bring about problems for Adrian Beltre, but the Blue Jays would prefer to have him in the field as much as possible instead of being used as a DH.

The asking price on Adrian Beltre may be beneficial to the Blue Jays, as they possess at least some level of strength at the Texas Rangers’ positions of need.  I struggle to see a situation in which a trade for Adrian Beltre would not include Blue Jays catching prospect A.J. Jimenez, who finally appears to be playing near full health.  With the Blue Jays recent addition of 1st Round C Max Pentecost, they should be more comfortable dealing the man who they have long considered their top catching prospect.  Keep in mind, the Texas Rangers willingly gave J.P. Arencibia money to play baseball for them this past off-season, so they will certainly be seeking help behind the dish.

As part of a package with A.J. Jimenez, the Blue Jays may be able to tempt Adrian Beltre away with a second-level pitching prospect and a high-ceiling, “lottery” type player from deeper in their system.  Some arms that come to mind would be Sean Nolin, Deck McGuire,  Alberto Tirado, or Jairo Labourt.

I think that the package required for Adrian Beltre (which I predict to be in at least the same neighbourhood as outlined above) would be a worthwhile move for the Toronto Blue Jays.  Again, Anthopolous may choose to put the Blue Jays assets towards pitching at the deadline, but a move for Adrian Beltre would bring noticeable changes to the team on both sides of the ball.  A very good offence would become elite, and eliminate one of it’s “easy out” holes, while John Gibbons would be able to field a regular infield without as much need of platooning players.

The Blue Jays are in a strange, magical place right now: contention.  Adrian Beltre has called that place “home” for several years, and his addition could help propel the Toronto Blue Jays into a pennant run, words that our younger fans may need to Google.

Tags: Adrian Beltre Featured Popular Texas Rangers Toronto Blue Jays

  • Andrew van Laar

    Interesting idea. I don’t think it will work for a couple reasons:

    1. In the article about the Rangers being willing to move core players, they said it would take a special package to get Darvish or Beltre. I don’t think Jimenez and a mid tier pitching prospect will do it. He isn’t a rental player so I am thinking the Rangers will want to add one of out top young arms to that deal.

    2. I don’t think Rogers will be willing to take on that salary. With how shy they were this summer on spending, I can’t see them eating a prorated $17mil this year and $18mil next. If the Rangers were to eat some of that, the price will go up.

    If they can get this deal done for a package that you submitted and Rogers is willing to spend, I would say go for it! I just don’t see both of those conditions being met :(

    • http://www.jaysjournal.com/ Keegan Matheson

      Mm, the salary is tough. Very tough. And once they muttered “Sanchez”, that would be the end for me. Maybe a Norris, with 1-2 high potential lower-level guys. But I guess one can only spitball with these things.

      On a more general note, I feel Norris’ trade value is one of the nicest surprises of this season. Entering the year, any “big”-ish trade always came back to Sanchez/Stroman. To a point that got somewhat frustrating. Norris, however, has created that nice B+ option that we were kind of lacking.

      • Andrew van Laar

        That is nice although as players trade value goes up, I don’t want to trade them anymore :P It’s a pretty vicious circle for me…

  • JaysHopeful

    If the Rangers are really willing to hear offers on “core-players,” has anyone mulled around the idea of picking up Elvis Andrus?

    • Andrew van Laar

      I think it would take a pretty sizeable package to get Andrus. Plus he is owed a crapload of money. Not sure if Rogers is willing to forkout that cash :S

      • http://www.jaysjournal.com/ Keegan Matheson

        Poor Elvis, I feel like he’s been around 10 years, been at the heart of rumours each season, and always been a year away from being “replaced by _______”. And the dude’s 25! Definitely about to get paid though. Big ol’ money-mountains.

        • Andrew van Laar

          He’s already been paid :P signed until 2022

          • http://www.jaysjournal.com/ Keegan Matheson

            Oh definitely! This is just the last season that he has to survive on that $6M-ish pocket change before his new one kicks in. (At least I think it’s a ’15 start). Not having the best year so far. Might be contagious in TEX, though.

          • JaysHopeful

            Cool, thanks guys for the input and analysis!

            To be honest, I think the move is to find a SS rather than a 3B or 2B. As Reyes’ range become more suspect a transition to 2B might be in order. Meanwhile, I think that Lawrie has the speed, build, and intensity to be a 20/20 guy, but I think that entails leaving him at 3B where he’s comfortable and telling him to keep working on going to the opposite field.

  • Mike

    It is an interesting idea – but if Beltre was made available, he is made available to 29 other teams, a package of Jiminez is…..not gonna cut it, not by a mile.

    • http://www.jaysjournal.com/ Keegan Matheson

      Jimenez (or Nessy / another C prospect) is what I consider the most likely inclusion, due to TEX’s hole behind the plate. There’s no chance Jimenez would be the “best” player we deal, though, if a trade were to happen. Maybe a Norris / Catcher / High Potential lower-level player. Fun to dream, though. Very few MLB hitters that I enjoy watching as much as Beltre.

      • hathorian .

        Norris is probably a better prospect for the Jays than Sanchez now because he can throw strikes now. Sanchez is looking risky….

  • JT

    I think Beltre is an interesting case because I think Beltre is in a comparable situation as Buerhle. We’ve been told Buerhle has very little trade value despite what he’s been able to do due to his contract ($19mil next year). Beltre is in the same situation where he is still productive but carries a lot of salary in future years. Shouldn’t that mean he doesn’t have a lot of trade value?

  • Jensan

    Beltre can be offset by including Santos in this year package, with Nolin , Osuna plus Jiminez

  • Grish

    Honestly, this would most likely not even interest the Texas Rangers. The Rangers have a catcher in the minors that they have been grooming for years. Therein lies the reason that the Rangers have only been handing out one year deals to catchers for the past few years. Jorge Alfaro has been called the next Pudge (Ivan Rodriguez) for the Rangers. Until Alfaro is ready, the Rangers will keep hiring a stopgap player. It would be highly illogically, for this discussion to even begin in the Rangers clubhouse with the way the 21 YO Colombian native is playing in the minors.