Texas Rangers: If Adrian Beltre Does Retire, Who Replaces Him?

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 16: (L-R) Jurickson Profar #19 and Rougned Odor #12 of the Texas Rangers celebrate a triple play against the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 16, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 16: (L-R) Jurickson Profar #19 and Rougned Odor #12 of the Texas Rangers celebrate a triple play against the Los Angeles Angels in the fourth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 16, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

While no decision has been made, it seems possible that the Texas Rangers could see Adrian Beltre retire. If he does, who gets the job at third?

Despite no decision being made in regards to Adrian Beltre retiring after this season it’s a least a possibility the Texas Rangers have to be prepared for. The 39-year old suffered another setback with his hamstring that has given him so much trouble this season. Mulling over his 3rd DL stint of the year and possibly retirement, fans and the organization alike are facing the real possibility of having a hole to fill at third base moving forward. The Rangers may not have to look too far to find a replacement but who is best suited to try and fill the shoes of the future Hall of Famer.

Who Are The Top Options?

If Beltre does retire, there are two frontrunners as the options to fill his role. Both Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jurickson Profar have spent time at third this season. I’d expect one of these two to take over at third if Adrian Beltre hits the DL this season and also could see Texas committing to one of them as the third baseman of the future if he retires. Between the two, which one makes the most sense though?

Isiah Kiner-Falefa

Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been the Texas Rangers breakout player this season. Getting the call-up early in the year because of all the injuries to the infield, IKF has shown out in his opportunities for Texas and developed into the consummate super-utility man. With the ability to play anywhere on the infield and at catcher, IKF has become a fan favorite with his versatility and hustle. The 23-year old has played in 41 games at third for Texas this year and despite 4 errors has shown that he can be considered an above average defender at the position. Compared to the average, Kiner-Falefa has a plus-7 defensive runs saved. He also showcases range better than the league average at third base.

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Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s offensive production is nothing to scoff at either. For Texas this season, IKF is hitting .268 in 87 games which ranks 7th for the Rangers this season. He also showcases good plate discipline with just 54 strikeouts in his 87 appearances, good for 2nd fewest on the team among regular players. Despite not being much of a power threat, IKF is tied for 4th on the team with 17 doubles and has 31 RBIs in 2018. He’s definitely been one of the biggest bright spots for a struggling Rangers team this season.

If there’s a big reason why Isiah Kiner-Falefa wouldn’t take over at third next season it’s that he may find himself taking a big share of the catching duties. With Robinson Chirinos entering the final year of his contract in 2019 assuming the Rangers pick up his team option, Texas will be looking to nail down his successor meaning IKF could get a number of starts behind the dish. If that’s the plan, Texas won’t want Kiner-Falefa bouncing back and forth never solidifying a role at third.

Jurickson Profar

In my mind Jurickson Profar makes the most sense as a replacement for Adrian Beltre currently on the roster. Profar, like Kiner-Falefa, has embraced a utility man role that has seen his value skyrocket. The 25-year old has logged 62 games at third base across 4 seasons. He’s struggled some, making 11 errors in that time frame, but has improved and I think with consistent work over there, could become an MLB caliber defensive player. The glove isn’t as much the issue as is the arm accuracy which can be honed with more reps.

At the plate, Profar has a bit more upside in my opinion. A switch-hitter, he allows the Rangers to not worry about matchups and commit to him as an everyday player. In the 108 games he’s played in 2018, he’s also hitting .253 and has seen the average climbing as of late. He features some power to, hitting 14 homeruns and driving in 65 RBIs, good for 2nd on the team. While his average isn’t quite as high, Profar has more potential as a hitter than can drive in runs evidenced by his .798 OPS this season.

Like Kiner-Falefa, Profar has his knocks as well. Besides his defense which could use improvement, he is arbitration eligible after 2019 and eligible to be a free agent after 2021. With the Rangers in rebuild mode, it’s hard to gauge whether they’d want to commit to Profar knowing he could walk in free agency right when the team is hitting their goal to be competitive. Profar has been thrown in some trade discussions because of the contract and no doubt will be a name talked about this summer which could take him out of the third base discussion altogether.

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Who do you think should replace Adrian Beltre at third base? Comment below.