For those who remain antsy about Adrian Beltre returning to the Texas Rangers in 2018, stop being so antsy.
It’s early in the off-season, and things can always change, but general manager Jon Daniels is confident that he and Beltre left the 2017 season on the same page about the intentions of the upcoming one.
The Rangers expect to be contenders, and Beltre doesn’t expect to make any noise seeking a trade.
“This team will be designed with Adrian as our third baseman,” Daniels said Wednesday at the Surprise Recreation Campus, where the Rangers are holding pro-scouting meetings.
Beltre’s concern as the season came to an end was if the Rangers were going to enter into a rebuilding phase. If so, he didn’t want to be a part of it.
He’s not getting any younger — he turns 39 on April 7 — and will be in the final year of his contract with the Rangers. All he wants to accomplish the rest of his career is to win a World Series.
Daniels can’t guarantee that, and he said that he very openly told Beltre that the Rangers won’t be acquiring a bevy of All-Star this off-season. But the plan is be better than in 2017 and to get back to the postseason.
“I told him that’s very much where our mindset is,” Daniels said. “I believe if we make the right moves, we can absolutely contend. I said if that changes, I’d let him know.”
He and Beltre met in the waning days of a disappointing season in which Beltre failed to play 100 games for the first time in his career since becoming a full-time major-leaguer. The Rangers finished 78-84, just the second losing season since Beltre signed in 2011.
Beltre relayed his thoughts, said Daniels, including how strongly he feels about the organization, his teammates and the fans.
“The most important thing is he wants to be able to win with his current teammates and he wants to know they will have a chance,” Daniels said. “He said if that was not the case, that would be a different conversation, but if that’s the case, he loves it here.”
The Rangers still consider Beltre to be an elite defender at third base and believe they are better when he’s playing third base for them. There is an on-going conversation about the 20-year veteran listening to his body more than trying to play through the pain of nagging injuries, and depending on how the roster shakes out, he might be asked to take more days at designated hitter.
Calf and hamstring injuries limited Beltre to 94 games. He still managed to bat .312 and post a .915 on-base plus slugging percentage, and he collected his 3,000th career hit July 30.