With just two days to go before the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, the Boston Red Sox may be in the market for a third basemen after 21-year-old, second-year star Rafael Devers was forced to the 10-day disabled list after Boston’s Saturday game against the Minnesota Twins. And one local baseball writer, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, believes that the answer could come in the form of an aging superstar who once revived his career with a single, sensational season in Boston — the Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre.
As player with 10 years of Major League experience and five straight years at a single club, Beltre — who at age 39 will be eligible for free agency after the 2018 season, per Baseball Reference — must approve any trade that the Rangers may attempt to make for him. And the four-time All-Star who debuted with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1999 at age 19 says that though he wants to play for a winner, he also feels a deep loyalty to the Texas organization.
“Obviously, it’s going to come down to what works for the team, and what works for me,” Beltre told MLB.com. “A chance for me to play. I’m not going to specifically say, ‘I need to play every day,’ but contribute to that team to win the World Series, if that’s going to happen. But it’s a matter of what that team needs, and what their offer to the Rangers looks like.”
As The Dallas News has reported, the Atlanta Braves — who trail the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East by just 2 and a half games according to MLB — have been considered the most likely landing spot for Beltre if the Rangers try to deal him and Beltre agrees. Former Texas Manager Ron Washington, who was close to Beltre, is now a coach with the Braves.
But Beltre also has a significant connection to Boston. After a subpar 2009 season with the Seattle Mariners, the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, native signed as a free agent with the Red Sox on a one-year contract and proceeded to put up a performance that earned him his first All-Star nod, finishing the season with 28 home runs, a.919 OPS and.321 batting average in 154 games, the most he had played since 2006.
One roadblock to a possible Beltre-to-Boston deal, Bradford reports, would be the third-baseman’s salary. With an $18 million contract this season, the Red Sox would owe Beltre about $6 million, according to Bradford. “That would undoubtedly put them over the dreaded luxury tax threshold,” the WEEI scribe wrote. But otherwise, Bradford said, Beltre — who has already served as a mentor to Devers — would be “almost a perfect fit” for the Red Sox.