Profar, Andrus embrace new roles without Beltre

November 20th, 2018

ARLINGTON -- Rangers infielder was hoping that third baseman would play one more season, but he was also hoping for a chance to be an everyday player at one position.

One of those wishes appeared to come true Tuesday. Profar is likely going to be the Rangers' regular third baseman in 2019 after Beltre officially announced that he is retiring after a 21-year career.

"As we are set up today, for sure, that would be the plan," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Obviously, we are still at the beginning of the offseason. We'll see how things go, but that would be the plan as our roster is set up today."

Profar earned that right after hitting .254 with 82 runs scored, 20 home runs, 77 RBIs, a .335 on-base percentage and a .458 slugging percentage over 146 games this past season. He did so while playing four infield positions, so the idea of being anchored at one position has appeal to him.

Replacing Beltre in the field is one task for the Rangers. Another is replacing him as the leader of the team, a position of responsibility that is likely to fall on shortstop .

Andrus will be entering his 11th season with the Rangers, by far the longest tenure of any player, and he has gradually started assuming more leadership responsibility.

"Now I understand what Michael Young and [Beltre] were going through every single day," Andrus said. "It is not easy taking care of the clubhouse, making sure it is running well and performing every single day at a high level. It was a great challenge and it was something Adrian has been telling me for the past 2-3 years: 'When I'm done, you got to do it, you got to be the guy.' I know I can do it. I have the best two teachers in Michael and Adrian. I'm ready for the challenge."

Beltre spent the past eight years with the Rangers and finished this past season hitting .273 with 15 home runs, 65 RBIs and a .434 slugging percentage in 119 games. He was limited by a strained left hamstring, but also finished strong in September.

He played in 24 games that month, hitting .279 with eight home runs, 18 RBIs and a .651 slugging percentage, earning the club's Player of the Month honors. He also finished the season still undecided about his future.

Beltre clearly was leaning toward retirement, but Daniels said that the Rangers were still holding out hope he might play one more season.

"We talked about it, both internally and with Adrian," Daniels said. "If Adrian wanted to play, there was always a spot for him. What he has meant to the club from a leadership standpoint and the fans, and the team and the way he finished September, he was still an extremely productive player. His choice was to go out on top, so to speak, playing at a high level."

That, and his desire to be with his family were big factors in his decision. Another was the possibility that the 2019 season might be another challenge, especially with the Rangers in rebuilding mode. Beltre wasn't eager to go through another season dealing with questions about his physical health, the direction of the club or more annoying rumors about being traded.

"He put it well when he said he wanted to avoid any conflict down the line," Daniels said.