Now that Adrian Beltre doesn’t have to worry about where he will be playing in 2016, he allowed himself on Tuesday to consider how much longer he will want to play beyond the end of his contract with the Texas Rangers.
The short answer: With the Rangers, possibly at another position, possibly until he’s 40 but only as long as he is able to be a productive player.
“I’m all ears,” he said.
The Rangers have discussed an extension internally but haven’t taken it to Beltre or agent Scott Boras. Beltre will be 37 and a 19-year veteran after the 2016 season, hence some of the Rangers’ hesitancy to move more aggressively on a Beltre deal for 2017.
Beltre was realistic when asked about his future. He said that he would have not any issues moving to another position, say, designated hitter or first base, if another player showed that he was a better asset at third base.
“If there comes a time when I need to be moved and it’s for the good of the team, I’m all for it,” Beltre said. “I’m not opposed to playing another position. Right now, I don’t think I’m ready to move.
“I can play when I’m 40, but I’m not going to drag stuff along if I’m not playing the way I’m capable of playing. I’m just going to quit and go home. I’ll just go year by year, and I’ll try to get my body ready the best I can.”
Many believe the player that will push Beltre is already in the system. Top prospect Joey Gallo, though, is content continuing to develop and trying to absorb as much as he can from Beltre in his first big-league camp.
“I’ve got to find a new position, I guess,” Gallo said, jokingly. “It’s awesome. He obviously deserves it. It just gives me a little more time to be around him and learn as much as I can. We started yesterday.”
Beltre also helped the Rangers financially this season with the new terms of his deal. Beltre was supposed to make $18 million this season and $16 million in 2016, but will flop salaries to give the Rangers more flexibility.
That money could be spent on a left-handed reliever this spring or on a difference maker during the season.
“The whole deal was just in case they need to somebody at the trade deadline, they have the flexibility to do it,” Beltre said. If they can find a way to find a player who can help us out if we’re in the hunt, it was OK with me.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760