The coolest guy in a Texas Rangers uniform wasn’t quite as cool as he was letting on the past few weeks.
Even the GOAT can be knocked out of his usual comfort zone by the nonwaiver trade deadline, even though he has full no-trade protection.
“Over the last couple weeks, there’s been a lot of thinking, a lot of expectation, a lot of wait-and-see,” third baseman Adrian Beltre said.
Just because the deadline passed Tuesday with Beltre staying put doesn’t mean he’s out of the trade winds yet. Teams can still make trades, and though the process changes, the rebuilding Rangers will still be listening if a contender comes calling for a future Hall of Fame third baseman.
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But one thing won’t change: The value general manager Jon Daniels places on Beltre and Beltre’s prerequisites to consider a trade will continue to make a deal difficult to find.
“We always had the open communication, JD and I, about the situation that might come up,” Beltre said Tuesday. “We were constantly talking about what I wanted and talking about what they’d want for me to consider a trade. We agreed that if it made sense for both parties, I’d consider it, but it never got to that point.”
Beltre wants to go to a team that is a sure-fire contender, not just a team with a chance to play in a wild-card game. He wants to receive considerable playing time, not just be a cheerleader on the bench. He wants the Rangers to get a quality deal, not just a couple warm bodies to fill out a minor-league roster.
Not a lot of teams can check off those boxes.
“There are not many teams that were willing to meet the demands or needs that I wanted,” Beltre said. “I don’t want to be a bench player, and it didn’t work out. I can not sit hear and say 100 percent that I will finish the season here, which I would be happy to do, but you never know if something comes up. I’m going to stay open to the situation.”
For a player to be available for trade to the other 29 teams the rest of the season, he must pass through revocable waivers. If a player is claimed, the two teams have 48 hours to work out a trade.
If no agreement is reached, the player’s team can pull him back off waivers. For a traded player to be eligible for the postseason, he must be traded by Aug. 31.
Daniels said that the Rangers will be putting Beltre and multiple others on waivers, something that is commonplace throughout MLB in August.
“As we’ve done throughout the process, we’ll keep communicating with Adrian,” Daniels said. “It’s been a true back-and-forth conversation and discussion.”
Daniels said that he and Beltre have been talking regularly, at times daily, for the past month leading up to the deadline. Daniels explained that they listened to what Beltre told them it would take for him to consider a trade, and contacted only the team they felt were a fit.
Otherwise, it was a waste of their time, the inquiring team’s time, and Beltre’s time.
He wanted to know each time a team called, and Daniels said that the Rangers complied.
“I never wanted it to be a situation where there was any sort of friction here,” Daniels said. “I will say this: Throughout him giving us his feedback, it was about the most selfless, big-picture, broad vision that I’ve ever seen. If was going to go somewhere, it was going to be somewhere he could win, but also somewhere where he could play and contribute. He didn’t want to be a cheerleader. He was very clear about that.
“But he was also clear that he didn’t want to go somewhere that would lead to us not getting a good deal. He wasn’t picking prospects, but he was concerned about the organization, and genuinely so. Not that any of us should be surprised with Adrian that he’s that kind of guy, but it really did blow me away, it was really awesome to hear.”
The Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers, who play near Beltre’s off-season home, are the most logical fits. They either have injuries to their current third basemen, though none is considered serious, or could shuffle their infield to accommodate Beltre.
The Atlanta Braves inquired about Beltre, but they are not leading their division nor do they hold a wild-card spot.
Things can change in a hurry in MLB, and Beltre definitely wants to win a World Series. He also understands that a player isn’t always going to get what he wants.
“It’s not like everybody has third base open,” said Beltre, who remains uncertain if he will play in 2019. “It’s not for me to the organization that I’ve been with eight years and has given me a chance to win pretty much for six years and trusted me for two multi-year contracts to just tell them, ‘You know what? I want to get out of here. I want to be traded.’
“If I wanted to be traded and if it’s going happen and they give me a chance to go somewhere for two months, and hopefully I get a chance to win. But if it doesn’t happen, I’m happy here. I have no problem staying here.”