Red Sox potential trade target: Third baseman Adrian Beltre
By Rick McNair
The Boston Red Sox are reportedly searching the baseball universe for a third baseman and some power hitting. Why not explore the possibility of a return of Adrian Beltre?
Baseball is similar to every sport in that age is not kind as the reflexes and body decline. A player in his late 30’s is a baseball Methuselah and with age comes a risk if a player is acquired via trade – especially with a large salary attached.
There are exceptions to the baseball aging process and the Boston Red Sox have to look no further than the two icons of the franchise – Ted Williams and David Ortiz. Both players finished off their remarkable careers with numbers that would make a 25-year-old superstar envious.
Maybe the Red Sox can add another old one in Adrian Beltre? Is he even available? With Texas, there is quite a list of “potential” players to be dealt. No harm in exploring the options.
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Beltre has been on the Boston scene once before with a season that was exceptionally productive before entering free agency and finding his baseball pot of gold in Texas. Beltre’s lone Red Sox season saw an All-Star selection, a Silver Slugger and a ninth place MVP finish. In Texas. Beltre’s personal assault on pitching continues despite being 38-years-old.
Long regarded as a defensive magician at third base and that pairs well with his hard-hitting abilities. Beltre is also regarded as a solid club house professional and a team leader. The real deal in all aspects of baseball. A return to Boston would certainly be welcomed with the ongoing turbulence at third and within a batting order that needs an infusion of power.
Beltre has just eight home runs and 31 RBI this season while hitting .281, but, as always, there is a reason. Beltre’s season started late and his figures were accumulated in just 153 at-bats. Missing games are rare for Beltre, who is usually in the 150 games range, but nicks and dents happen at any age. What is obvious is Beltre apparently has not slowed down.
There is one stumbling block with any trade for Beltre – money. In 2018 Beltre will be on someone’s books for $18 million. Is money now an object? The Red Sox were on record of maintaining a payroll under the luxury tax and that was best described by sending Clay Buchholz and his $13 million salary to Philadelphia.
How times change with the aroma of playoffs in the air. The Red Sox have an addiction and that addiction is to spend – sometimes wisely and sometimes not. Dave Dombrowski has recently mentioned that the luxury tax would not necessarily inhibit the Red Sox from making a dramatic move or two even if it affected payroll. So Beltre’s hit on the budget for 2018 may be moot.
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What Beltre would also do is give developmental stability for hot-shot prospect Rafael Devers, who is rapidly moving up the farm system ladder. Adding Beltre would not force the issue for 2017 and would provide an easement in 2018 for Devers – no rush and the potential for the youngster to get some work in at Pawtucket next year.
Now time for speculation. So how do the Red Sox get a Beltre? Would the Rangers be interested in a versatile Brock Holt? Would the Red Sox be ready to commit to the surprising Tzu-Wei Lin for the multi-purpose role? Holt is a Leatherman Tool and can Lin be the same? Would Texas be willing to look at other third base prospects not named Devers? Michael Chavis is Boston’s ninth ranked prospect and Bobby Dalbec the fourth according to MLB Prospect Watch. Would that interest Texas? Other prospects? Maybe a mix and match?
The Rangers are looking to move players that are pending free agents or have expensive salary commitments beyond 2017. They are in sell mode and the Red Sox are in buy mode. Todd Frazier is gone to the Yankees, but Beltre is rib eye compare to Frazier – a chuck cut. Others have been mentioned, but just get Beltre.
Next: Yonder Alonso: An unconventional third base solution
The Red Sox need a move to bolster their run to October. Last season Dombrowski did just that and this year should be a replication. Bring back Beltre to lock down third.