The Texas Rangers have solidified the hot corner for at least the next few seasons after agreeing to a two-year, $36 million extension with Adrian Beltre, as first reported by T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. The deal is still pending a physical, Evan Grant of Dallas Morning News noted.
Talks between the Rangers and Beltre reportedly began earlier this spring and carried over into the season. The 19-year veteran was reportedly seeking a three-year guarantee worth $19 million per season — looking to eclipse the Boston Red Sox’s guarantee to under-performing third baseman Pablo Sandoval, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
Just under two weeks ago, Beltre expressed surprise to the Dallas Morning News that he and the team hadn’t agreed to a deal.
“We’ve still got nothing to say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ to. I would have thought that we’d have that by now. But I’m not worrying about it by any means.”
Having just turned 37, Beltre remains one of the game’s top third basemen. He is off to a solid start this season, batting.283 with two HR and nine RBI through the season’s first few weeks. According to FanGraphs, Beltre is credited with four defensive runs saved on the young campaign.
Beltre has spent the past five seasons with the Rangers, maintaining his usual standard of excellence with the bat and the glove. Since 2011, Beltre has been a.308 hitter while averaging 27 HR and 92 RBI per season. During his time in Texas, Beltre has also added two Gold Glove awards to his resume (2011 and 2012).
Aside from his five productive seasons in the lone star state, Beltre has compiled Hall of Fame-worthy statistics. Entering play on Saturday, Beltre has 2,780 career hits, putting him just 220 hits shy of 3,000 for his career. With Beltre signed through the 2018 season, he will have a good chance of reaching the milestone with the Rangers. Those 2,780 hits also rank Beltre first among all Dominican-born player, per ESPN.
Adrian Beltre has the most career hits by any Dominican player in MLB history (2,780). pic.twitter.com/fsFUI8Rmh1
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) April 16, 2016
Debuting with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a 19-year-old in 1998, Beltre became the team’s incumbent at the hot corner for several seasons during the early ‘2000s. His breakout season came in 2004 — his last season before hitting free agency– when he swatted 48 HR and drove in 121 runs to go along with a.334 batting average through 156 games.
Beltre finished second in Most Valuable Player (MVP) voting in the National League that year. That performance earned Beltre a five-year, $64 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. However, Beltre’s production in Seattle was hampered by a rash of injuries and the spacious confines of Safeco Field. During his five years in Seattle, Beltre accumulated a.266 batting average with 103 HR and 396 RBI.
A one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox helped Beltre re-establish himself. With Fenway Park’s Green Monster in his sights during the 2010 season, Beltre hit.321 with 28 HR, 102 RBI, and an American League-leading 49 doubles. Once again, a strong season prior to free agency earned Beltre a hefty guarantee, this time, a five-year, $80 million pact with the Rangers.
— Ace of MLB Stats (@theaceofspaeder) April 16, 2016
With Beltre extended, the Rangers’ infield is set for several seasons. Elvis Andrus (shortstop) and Rougned Odor (second base) are plugged in at their positions for the foreseeable future. The team also has youngsters such as Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo in their system and expected to be part key parts of the team’s future. However, as MLB Trade Rumors notes, they could also become trade chips with the Rangers’ crowded infield.
[Featured Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]