The advice Adrian Beltre offered general manager Jon Daniels and Texas Rangers ownership Monday morning is nothing new from the win-at-all-costs — heavy emphasis on "costs" — future Hall of Famer.
Beltre wants to win a World Series before his playing days are done and believes the current Rangers roster can compete for October. But he also believes what the Rangers have assembled can be better, especially with so many top free agents still looking for work.
So, Beltre answered honestly when prodded by the local scribes about his feelings on the Rangers, who were built on the cheap with players who have been solid contributors (even All-Stars) in the past, but must do it again after not doing it for a while.
Outfielder J.D. Martinez, though, could give the Rangers a proven power bat in left field, their only unsettled position entering the first full-squad workout Tuesday. Right-hander Jake Arrieta, the former TCU star and Cy Young winner, could give the Rangers' rotation a serious boost.
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But Beltre also knows that the Rangers aren't likely to spend lavishly. He knew that in October, when Daniels told him as much and then held true to his word.
And Beltre is staying true to his, all without raising his voice or threatening to hold out or appearing to be a disruption. He just wants to win.
"I am not unhappy," he said. "Obviously, we are going to go to war with what we have and we do have a really good team. Obviously, we can be better, especially with the free agents out there that are still unsigned.
"There is only so much we can do as a player. There is no doubt I would like to win and have the best chance to win. That being said, if it were my option, I would like to add more people and make team stronger."
Beltre turns 39 in April and is in the final year of his contract. Though he is anticipating that he will play beyond this season, and wants to do so with the Rangers, he knows the clock is ticking on the one feat he feels he has yet to accomplish in his career — winning it all.
But the chances of the Rangers adding a big name seem remote. The Rangers didn't make a quality offer to Yu Darvish before he signed with the Chicago Cubs, and that six-year deal and the eight-year contract first baseman Eric Hosmer signed to join the San Diego Padres suggest there is still big money out there.
Bigger than the Rangers are willing to spend, even with Beltre offering to defer some of the $18 million he is owed this season and with Daniels suggesting the door to signing a big free agent is somewhat open. Daniels said that he and agent Scott Boras have not talked about a contract extension for Beltre, but that is something that will be discussed.
Daniels understands why Beltre said what he said and doesn't hold it against him. Beltre has earned the right to speak his mind, and he doesn't allow what the Rangers don't have to affect him.
"I wouldn't want a player who wants a worse team," Daniels said. "It's part of what makes Adrian so good. He's a competitive dude."
Beltre was one of the final three players who waited to show up to the Surprise Recreation Campus until Monday's report day for positions players. The Rangers' first spring game is scheduled for Saturday against the Cubs.
Beltre reported for duty healthy, which he couldn't say last year after showing up with an calf strain. He is ready to move on from last season, which he considers one of the worst of his career even though he eclipsed 3,000 hits.
But he was injured and missed more than one-third of the Rangers' games. To guard against a repeat in 2018, he reported at a lower weight, spent more time during the off-season focusing on sprints rather than distance running, and is willing to spend more time at designated hitter.
He feels great.
"I’m good. I’m scary good," Beltre said. "When you age…it’s better to be lighter. There are some things I need to understand now that I am 38, almost 39. I want to make sure I’m 100 percent mentally and physically ready to go. This year was more understanding what to look for and not push it to be ready to go at the first of spring training."
He said that he doesn't understand why so many free agents are still unsigned at this points in the year. But as long as they are out there, he wants Daniels to sign them up to help take the Rangers back to the postseason.
"I would like to be more satisfied, put it that way, in the sense of putting a better team in our ballclub," Beltre said. "It’s not that the team [isn’t good], but we could add some other pieces. Preferably, I would get some of those guys.
"I can’t sit out here and start complaining about things that might not make sense, because being here, this is my eighth year here, and every year except one we were competing and had a good team to win. It’s been what they promised me, so I’ve got no complaints."