As an American League team, the Texas Rangers have a designated hitter at their disposal. They could very well use that spot to help protect one of their top investments in Adrian Beltre.
The Texas Rangers have no intention of going through a rebuild. They are planning to reload this offseason and try to compete in 2018. Adrian Beltre, who will turn 39 shortly after the 2018 campaign begins, is seeking that elusive World Series ring. It is really the only crowning achievement left for his amazing career that will already end up in Cooperstown.
If the Rangers planned to go through a rebuild, Beltre would more than likely be dealt this offseason. Since the Rangers intend to compete, Beltre will not only stay in Arlington but be a pivotal part of their lineup if they are to capture that first World Series in club history.
With aging players, usually, the concern for club management is the decline of performance and production. In Beltre’s case, those haven’t been an issue. His health, on the other hand, became an issue in 2017. Soft tissue injuries, like with what Beltre dealt with last year, can possibly be a sign of an aging player whose body may not handle 150-155 games at third base.
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When healthy, he is still a very productive player. He only played 98 games last season but was highly productive in those games. He batted .312 and hit 17 home runs and knocked in 71 runs. At that pace, if he would have played 150 games, he would’ve hit 26 home runs and had 109 RBI’s.
There is a way the Texas Rangers could help protect their investment in Beltre. With the DH spot in their lineup for 152 games next season, the Rangers should consider having Beltre start more often as the designated hitter.
This is in no way saying that Beltre’s performance has declined enough to warrant more DH starts, but only to help keep him healthy throughout the season. Beltre is still a solid third baseman and should start most of the time there. Beltre getting 30-40 starts at DH could keep his valuable bat in the lineup more often. The Rangers have guys like Joey Gallo and Drew Robinson that could start at third base in games where Beltre is the DH.
Shin-Soo Choo is most likely to get the majority of starts at DH this season. It will be up to Jeff Banister and company to decide how many games Beltre would get as the DH. This is a smart way to get the most value out of Beltre. He is the heartbeat of the Rangers’ lineup.
If the Rangers are to make a playoff run this season, they can’t have Beltre miss 64 games again. Whether you’re a baseball purist who hates the DH or you love the benefits of it, it is what it is. The Rangers have that spot to use and it could be good insurance to protect their most important player.