Extending Adrian Beltre: Proven Leader of the Texas Rangers

Oct 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre (29) hits a double and drives in three runs during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre (29) hits a double and drives in three runs during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Extending Adrian Beltre will be key for the Texas Rangers moving forward.

Recently, rumors have begun to circulate around the Texas Rangers universe about an extension for Adrian Beltre potentially being in the offing. In an off-season largely void of any major moving and shaking for the Ranger franchise, such an extension would certainly qualify as major. This is not only a no-brainer move for Texas, it should be a priority.

Adrian Beltre, is the undisputed, undeniable leader of this Texas Rangers team. A position he has long held following his arrival in the Lone Star State, five years ago.

when the question of leadership comes up within the Rangers organization, the finger is inevitably pointed at Adrian Beltre

Regardless of who one talks to around the franchise, be it players, the manager, the front office, or fans, when the question of leadership comes up within the Rangers organization, the finger is inevitably pointed at Adrian Beltre, as a fountain of leadership for the Rangers, and as the penultimate model for how the Texas Rangers want to go about their business. His toughness, character, and clubhouse leadership are all shining examples for his teammates, especially the young blood. This alone is valuable to the Rangers. However, as is always the case in the performance driven world of professional sports, delivering on the diamond trumps all.

Going into what will be his age thirty seven season in 2016, Adrian Beltre may no longer be the monster of 2010-2013. But, even in a 2015 season largely haunted by a serious thumb injury which required off-season surgery, Beltre still managed to throw up a rather robust .287/.334/.453 slash line. Good for 2nd in average, and 4th in OBP and slugging percentage among AL third basemen. Placing him ahead of the likes of Evan Longoria, and Ranger killer Kyle Seager in all three categories. While also displaying enough of the sparkling defense that has become as closely associated with Beltre as his bat, to earn him a gold glove nomination. Thus, the performance indications are there that Adrian Beltre can fight through nagging injuries effectively, and remain a productive middle of the order bat, and shining glove at the hot corner, into the twilight years of his illustrious career.

There is also no tougher player on any roster in baseball. Legs, fingers, back, or any other injury be darned, Adrian Beltre has shown us time and again, that if he is able to walk, and swing a bat, then he will be in the lineup and producing. The ultimate display of Adrian Beltre’s toughness and heart, happened in the 2015 ALDS with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Oct 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre (29) throws to first base during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre (29) throws to first base during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

After leaving game one barely able to walk, and in tears due to his inability to continue with a back injury. Beltre, to the shock of everyone, returned to the lineup as a late add for game four only four days later, and was productive, manning third base and going 2-4 in the losing effort.

All of this combines to show how special of a player and leader Adrian is, and why it would be a travesty if his contract and tenure with the Rangers were allowed to end in 2016. Adrian has made it clear that he is content in Texas, and wants to continue to play here beyond 2016. Rangers’ management knows as well as anyone what Adrian Beltre means to this franchise, and thus there is no doubt they will make a vigorous effort to retain Beltre’s services. Probably looking to come to terms before the 2016 season kicks off.

As far as reasonable expectations for contract numbers. I would think that an extension of either one or two years at an AAV of $18-20 million (right in line with Adrian current salary of $18 million for 2016) is a reasonable framework for a deal, though the Rangers should not hesitate to go a little higher, if it means preventing Adrian from walking.

Texas Rangers
Texas Rangers /

Texas Rangers

That is not to say however, that the rangers should give in to any outrageous demands to get a deal done. If Beltre and, or his notorious agent Scott Boras, demand say $25 or $28 million a year, then yeah, it’s probably time to walk away. In other words, while certainly a priority, this is not quite a no holds barred situation for the Rangers, where devastation and nuclear fire would ensue a failure to retain Beltre beyond this season. The team does have unproven power prodigy, and freshly minted #9 prospect in all of baseball, as ranked by mlbpipeline.com, Joey Gallo, waiting in the wings.

One final thought pertaining to Adrian Beltre. If extension terms can be reached, would the Rangers consider formally naming Adrian team captain? Already the team captain in all but formal title, Adrian is constantly associated with the position in interviews with teammates, and manager Jeff Banister. The position of team captain in MLB is a symbolic one, that bears no actual burden of increased responsibilities or privileges, as it pertains to the rules of the sport. Naming Adrian Beltre captain then, would simply be a symbolic move, designed to honor one of the greatest leaders and players not only in franchise history, but to ever play the position. Not to mention, it would fix the rather unfortunate distinction of having Alex Rodriguez as the last team captain of the franchise.

Let me know about your thoughts, and feelings on the future of Adrian Beltre with the Texas Rangers in the comments.

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