“We think he is a Major Leaguer who will perform at well-above-average Major League levels,” agent Scott Boras said Wednesday at the GM Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif.
“That means teams are interested in him. His leadership dynamic is documented and extraordinary. We fully expect Major League teams to reach out to him.”
The “him” is Adrian Beltre, who hasn’t declared publicly his intention to play next year or retire. The end of 2018 sure seemed like a retirement party.
But it’s interesting to note the tenor of both Beltre’s side of this and the Rangers’ side. If Beltre comes back, does he return with the Rangers? It seems almost unfathomable he would be with anyone else.
Sure, he wants to win a championship and the forty-year-old future Hall of Famer won’t sniff championship air in Arlington until well in his eighties, if ever. But what’s odd is he had the chance last season and he chose to stay with the Rangers out of loyalty to the franchise.
From everything that was published, the Rangers organization was totally respectful and accommodating of and to Beltre and his wishes. They could have gotten a prospect for him. Beltre would have most likely gone to Boston, who needed a third baseman, and won a ring, and his career would have been complete.
Except one thing. His skills haven’t diminished. It appeared he was still having fun playing the game. And he was playing it at a high level, when his legs would allow. Beltre was, once again, the best hitter the Rangers had to offer. Yet the team is saying things like, “if Adrian wants to come back we would have to map out to him what his playing time would be.”
I get it. It’s fair and respectful to the player. But if you have a chance to retain your best player, your most popular player, your only marketable player, you do it. From a fan’s perspective, you bring this guy back. He’s all you have.
If Beltre comes back and it isn’t in a Rangers uniform, it will be a shame. Baseball will have punched Rangers fans in the gut once again.