Mac Engel

Be realistic, Rangers: Trade Beltre, keep Gallo in minors

Since the white “We’re Dead” flag was raised at Rangers Ballpark a few months ago, we are at the most exciting day remaining on their 2015 calendar. After Thursday’s MLB trade deadline passes, the remaining thrills will be to watch if this team has changed how it promotes its best prospects.

What they should do is deal third baseman Adrian Beltre, provided they get enough in return, and then not promote his replacement, Joey Gallo.

If this franchise is going to be consistent with the way it handles its top prospects, do not be surprised if Gallo is in Arlington by noon Thursday.

Popular baseball sentiment is to keep minor league home run king Gallo right where he is in Double A Frisco. But from Elvis Andrus to Leonys Martin to Jurickson Profar to Rougned Odor, this club loves to see their top kids as quickly as possible in Rangers’ unis. They promoted Profar to the big leagues when there was nowhere to play him.

The Rangers do not embrace all old-school baseball philosophies when it comes to how long a prospect should be in the minors. Rangers GM/president/czar Jon Daniels has said if they feel the guy is ready they will make the call.

Totally Unfair Comparison Alert: Angels outfielder Mike Trout was 20 with 286 minor league games and 1,312 minor-league plate appearances when he received his call. Gallo is 20 with 286 minor league games and 1,155 plate appearances.

The big difference is Trout hit .342 in the minors whereas Gallo is batting .272.

The point is it isn’t as if there is no precedence for promoting young players with short minor league résumés.

Put me firmly in the camp to wait on Gallo until next season. At the earliest. Profar should never have been in the majors. The same for Odor.

And put me firmly in the camp that says this club, if offered the right people, should deal Beltre before the deadline.

Beltre forces the Rangers to be real what about they are — contenders, or building to be a contender.

The Rangers are convinced this season is an aberration and that they will contend in ’15; that this season is the result of an unimaginable injury plague.

Don’t buy it; the injuries are a convenient disguise for a front office that had assembled a 25-man roster riddled with holes.

This team needs more young prospects than it does a veteran who, despite his considerable professionalism and production, can only do so much.

The best reason to trade Beltre was standing at first base for the Yankees on Wednesday night — Mark Teixeira.

If you forgot, in July of ’07 Daniels dealt Teixeira with pitcher Ron Mahay to the Braves for Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones. The trade made JD.

Baseball’s trade market wants big league hitters who can hit big league pitching in tight games, which Beltre has demonstrated he can do since he arrived to the Rangers in 2011. He has a good glove, and can hit any team’s No. 1 or No. 2 starting pitcher. And Beltre is 35, and could potentially be a free agent in 2016.

He would be a tremendous asset to a contending team that is convinced it’s close, and just a big bat away from the postseason.

Because of his age, Beltre will not yield the sheer quantity of potential prospects, but if the number is three, Daniels has to do it.

Barring a Teixeira-type haul, bet big that the Rangers won’t consider dealing Beltre because they are convinced they are close. They are more likely to settle on dealing a middle reliever and outfielder Alex Rios in exchange for a few prospects.

The way this team is acting, they are convinced that when this Rangers injury plague passes, Beltre will be a big bat in the middle of their lineup, and they will be right with the Oakland Athletics at the top of this division.

No matter, the white flag is already at full staff at Rangers Ballpark.

The Rangers have to determine what they are — immediate contenders in ’15 or building to contend.

The way this club is behaving, they will promote Gallo, despite what popular baseball sentiment says. They are sure they are close.

The rest of us are not so sure.

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