Texas Rangers

Rangers reaction: The selfish reasons I hope Adrian Beltre isn't traded

Adrian Beltre fist bumps his Rangers teammates during player introductions on Opening Day Thursday at Globe Life Park.
Adrian Beltre fist bumps his Rangers teammates during player introductions on Opening Day Thursday at Globe Life Park. rmallison@star-telegram.com

If the Texas Rangers aren't in contention come the July 31 trade deadline, there are many who expect third baseman Adrian Beltre will be dealt.

The future Hall of Famer, who has become the face of the franchise during his seven-plus seasons in Arlington, may prefer to move on to a contender with hopes of winning his first World Series. That's understandable. And it would be hard to hold it against him. In fact, it would be impossible. He's been too classy and too good for the Rangers.

Adrian Beltre said he felt like he was in a cloud as he rounded first base on a fourth-inning double for his 3,000th hit Sunday afternoon.

Selfishly, however, I hope it doesn't happen. He's great to interview. He's funny. He knows what reporters want to know and usually doesn't beat around the bush. He is brutally honest about himself and his team. That's all great for reporters.

But beyond all that, the day-to-day coverage of a major league team can be tedious (to be kind!). Pulled groins, minor league moves and contract negotiations are often a brain-numbing exercise.

The coolest thing about baseball, especially from a fan's perspective, is how deeply intertwined the history of the game is woven throughout each club. Current players and their statistics are compared to the all-time greats, and it helps us put a player's accomplishments in perspective.

With Beltre, it is historic every day he plays, because he's climbing the all-time leaders in so many statistical categories. He's played so long now (21 seasons), that it's historic every time he's in the starting lineup. He doesn't even need to get on base to make history anymore. So far in 2018, Beltre is still doing it, and he's still one of the best players in the game. Beltre, who turns 39 on April 7, showed again in Saturday's 9-3 loss that he hasn't lost a step. He drove in a run with double and has four hits in the Rangers' first three games.

It's good for business to have Beltre playing in your uniform.

Beltre's all-time ranks

Here's a look at where Beltre ranks in most of the major all-time hitting categories. Remember, he's moving up in various categories on a daily basis.

Games

PA

AB

Hits

2B

HR

RBI

Runs

TB

22nd

24th

16th

25th

13th

35th

31st

77th

17th

So even if the Rangers struggle this season and it's obvious by mid-July that they won't catch the Astros atop the AL West or have a chance at a wild card berth, Beltre's presence at Globe Life Park will keep the game interesting in Arlington. Rangers fans should want to be there when Beltre passes Alex Rodriguez and moves into the all-time top 20 with his 3,116th base hit. (He needs 64 more.)

Don't you want to see it in person (and in Arlington) when Beltre hits his 500th home run? Don't you want him doing it in a Rangers' uniform? (He needs 38 homers, so that'll probably come in 2019.) Or how about when he becomes the 26th person in the history of the world to collect RBI No. 1,700? (He needs 57.)

Unless a team is willing to unload a couple of its legitimate top prospects for Beltre, it makes more sense for the Rangers (rebuilding or not) to keep Beltre in Rangers red until he retires. He's a historic baseball figure now. He gives fans a reason to attend whether the team is winning or losing. Unless he asks for it, don't do it.

The Texas Rangers honored Adrian Beltre before Friday's game for his 3,000th hit, a ceremony that he said he would have enjoyed more if he wasn't injured (video by Jeff Wilson).

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