Daniels aims to keep Beltre, Moreland
Both sluggers could enter free agency after next season
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It is not at the top of their priority list right now, but general manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers would like to work out a contract extension with third baseman Adrian Beltre.
Beltre, who will turn 37 on April 7 and is represented by agent Scott Boras, can be a free agent after the upcoming season. Beltre is entering the final year of a six-year, $96 million contract.
"We would like to keep him," Daniels said. "Forget him retiring as a Ranger. We want to keep him [playing] as a Ranger. We are well aware of his contract. We have to sit down and get after it. It's important to us. We would like for him to be here. He is one of our best players."
Beltre hit .287 with 18 home runs, 83 RBIs and a .453 slugging percentage last season. He missed three weeks with a sprained left thumb in June but hit .325 with a .525 slugging percentage in his final 78 games. He had surgery on the thumb at the end of the season and is progressing well. He is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
Moreland unlikely to be traded
First baseman Mitch Moreland's name came up multiple times in trade rumors at the Winter Meetings, but Daniels does not see that happening.
Daniels said if the Rangers do make a deal, they would likely be giving up either prospects or one of their many relievers.
Moreland, who can be a free agent after next season, is coming off his best year with the Rangers, hitting .278 with 23 home runs, 85 RBIs and a .482 slugging percentage. All were career highs for the 30-year-old.
"Mitch came into his own last year and added a lot of offense, really tapped into his potentials," Daniels said. "He played well defensively and was comfortable in the environment created in the clubhouse. He came out of his shell and took a leadership role. He's one of the guys being asked about. I'm not saying absolutely, but I'm not motivated to move Moreland. If something comes up, it's our job to look at it, but we're not looking to move him."
The Rangers do have interest in right-handed-hitting free agent Steve Pearce to back up at first base and left field.
• The Rangers are interested in free-agent reliever Tony Barnette, who has spent the past six seasons in Japan. He had a 1.29 ERA and 41 saves in 2015 for the Yakult Swallows.
• The Winter Meetings wrap up with the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning, and the Rangers will have the 23rd pick. Last year they took Delino DeShields from the Astros, but that was with the third overall pick. Daniels said he was not sure if the Rangers will select a player.
• The Rangers are looking at former Mariners hitting coach Howard Johnson as the Class A Advanced High Desert manager. He played 14 seasons with the Tigers, Mets, Rockies and Cubs, and was a two-time All-Star.