Healthy Beltre in camp early, seeks extension

Rangers third baseman entering final year of deal; club, agent to continue talks

February 21st, 2016

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Third baseman Adrian Beltre has an idea of what kind of contract extension he wants from the Rangers.

"Giancarlo Stanton ... 13 years," Beltre said. "I don't know what the [value] is. Maybe I will be the first guy to play when he is 50."

Rangers' Spring Training info

Stanton's record-breaking contract with the Marlins is for 13 years and $325 million.

"Totally reasonable," general manager Jon Daniels said. "As long as he is willing to defer $300 million, we're good."

Beltre's contract situation was a prime topic of conversation as he showed up to camp Sunday and worked out with his teammates for the first time. Position players don't report until Wednesday, but Beltre is ready to go.

"I'm good," Beltre said. "Mentally I am strong and physically I'm good. I'm excited to start a new season and accomplish what we want to accomplish."

Beltre's health was also a topic of conversation and it goes hand in hand with the contract situation.

Beltre is in the last season of a six-year contract. He can be a free agent at the end of the season, but Daniels has made it clear the Rangers want to sign Beltre to an extension. Beltre also wants to get something done.

"It's nice to know there is a chance to get it done before the season, so it's not in the back of my mind that I won't be here next year," Beltre said.

There have been preliminary conversations with Beltre and his agent Scott Boras during the winter, and discussions should pick up in Spring Training.

"We have been clear that it is something we want to do," Daniels said. "Other than that, we'll handle it privately."

The Rangers are willing to discuss it even though Beltre turns 37 in April and they have multiple future options at third base. Joey Gallo is prominent among them.

"[Beltre] is a unique guy," Daniels said. "Most 37-year-olds, you wouldn't think about an extension, but he is a unique guy. At the time we signed him, we got some criticism for doing a five-year deal with an option at his age. Some of that same logic applies.

"You want to be cognizant of age -- older players have more risk -- but there are some guys ahead of the curve and he has proven to be one of those guys in more ways than one. Age is a factor, but it's less of a factor than other guys."

Beltre said he doesn't think age is a big deal.

"I'm not kidding anybody into thinking I'm 21 or 22," Beltre said. "I'm not. But my body feels pretty good. I'd like to think age is just a number, but the reality is it's not. I'm not going to be jumping up and down out there and doing the things Elvis [Andrus] and [Rougned] Odor are doing. But on the field, I don't think I have any limitations."

Age is not a factor if Beltre can stay healthy. For the most part he has done that with the Rangers, averaging 146 games a season over the last five years. But 2015 was not an easy year for him.

Beltre tore a ligament in his left thumb sliding into second base May 31 and missed three weeks. He returned June 22, but was still in considerable pain and, at one point in late July, surgery was strongly considered. The decision was left to Beltre and he decided to keep playing through it.

He ended up hitting .328 with 10 home runs, 56 RBIs and a .540 slugging percentage in his final 60 games. The Rangers were 38-22 in those 60 games and overtook the Astros in September to win the American League West.

"It was uncomfortable because I had never dealt with that injury before," Beltre said. "Having a firm grip and finishing my swing was difficult to do. Once I got used to it, I was able to make it better. But at the beginning, it was tough."

Beltre also suffered a strained lower back in Game 1 of the AL Division Series against the Blue Jays. He missed the next two games before coming back for Games 4 and 5. The Rangers lost the series in five games and Beltre underwent surgery on the thumb shortly afterward.

Gallo has long been considered Texas' third baseman of the future as he powered his way through the farm system. He has also played first base and the outfield, but the plan right now is to continue third base at Triple A.

Jurickson Profar and Hanser Alberto can also play third base if needed, but right now the Rangers have one of the best ever and want him beyond 2016.

"I still think he is one of the best third basemen in the game," Daniels said. "I think we are fortunate to be in a spot where we have options. We like the guys we have here, but if there is something to be worked out with Adrian, we would like to. If we signed Adrian, the other guys will still have opportunities."