The Texas Rangers are supposedly about to offer Adrian Beltre a six-year, $96 million contract.
Last season, Texas played with as much heart and hustle as any team in baseball. They weren’t the American League’s most talented outpost, but, as a unit, they had a genuine cohesiveness other organizations long for. The guys who make up the heart of Texas’ team—Josh Hamilton Vlad, Michael Young, David Murphy—are guys who grind it out. They really do, and to watch the Rangers surge through the playoffs was a thing of joy.
To me, adding Beltre is the equivalent of an NBA team adding on a Gilbert Arenas. He looks good, and the numbers add up, and he produces in bunches. But will he go all out every night? Will ne happily take one for the team? No.
I think of the early Seattle Beltre, just coming off of his huge year with the Dodgers. He was a true dog in Seattle—content, lazy, distant. Ask him, and he’ll tell you it was the NL-AL adjustment. Baloney. He made the money, and he coasted.
Talent-wise, Beltre ranks way up there. But a contender would be unwise to place him on the field every day. Especially when he’s not playing for a new deal.