Sometimes you actually remarry those you divorce. Occasionally it works out and just as often it fails. In baseball you can do the same.
Adrian Beltre had a one-year stay in Boston and it was about as productive a third base stay one can imagine. Beltre slashed .321/.365/.553 in his one season audition for a free agency windfall, and a windfall it was. The Rangers put a five-year deal for $80M on the table and Beltre gobbled it up. The deal also included a vesting option that can add-on another year and $16M.
The Texas team certain got their value. Beltre has slashed .315./.364/.530 for the Rangers with 117 home runs and 365 RBI. Toss in excellent defense and Texas certainly received baseball value for the money expended.
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Texas just let Alex Rios walk, ignoring his option. The Rangers 2014 season was a nightmare with injuries, poor performances and the drama that surrounds a team in free fall – something even the casual Red Sox fan can fully comprehend. Texas just may be in “shift” mode as they attempt to retool.
The Red Sox need some stabilization at third. Will Middlebrooks has shown nothing. Garin Cecchini has slid down the depth chart. Pablo Sandoval will want his big payday with a long-term deal. Chase Headley, an exceptional defender, may or may not acquiesce to the siren call of Yankee dollars. So why not look at Beltre?
With Beltre comes the risk of investing, even short-term, in a player on the other side of age 35. Will his skills suddenly implode? And that salary! The Red Sox have the money but may wish to allocate it to a cheaper option and toss some at pitching. Let us not forget that Beltre is another right-handed bat and there is an ingrained aversion to too much from one side or the other. I will leave his agent, Scott Boras, out of the equation.
The positives with Beltre are obvious. He can still hit with the best of them and field with the best of them. Beltre has hit right-handed pitching at a .283 career clip and, likewise, has done rather well at Fenway (.291/.342/.483). Beltre certainly left Boston with all the positive platitudes so ‘tude should be off the table.
What would it take?
The Rangers should not be offered a top positional prospect or even top pitching prospect. I could certainly see the Red Sox making an offer of a pitcher not named Henry Owens or Brian Johnson. Maybe even two? Who knows? Maybe tossing in Middlebrooks would temp the Rangers?
Beltre is a long shot for sure. As a patron of the Red Sox I remember his play and intensity. I’d love to see that return to Boston even for another one-year run.