We’ve all been speculating that the Red Sox could use some help on the infield, but there haven’t really been any concrete rumors indicating that Dave Dombrowski and the rest of the front office agrees with us. Well, that changed Monday. Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston is reporting that the Red Sox are talking with the Texas Rangers about a possible deal involving Adrian Beltre.
So, this is something I talked about over the weekend so I won’t really go into it too much again, though I will reiterate some points. First of all, I do believe the Red Sox should get another infielder. They are strapped for depth there and have gotten poor production from half of their infield for most of the year. Second of all, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to me to target a third baseman rather than a second baseman. The Red Sox already have Rafael Devers at third base, and while he obviously hasn’t been great he has a huge ceiling and I can’t really see them sitting him on a regular basis. At second base, they have Eduardo Núñez and Brock Holt, both of whom I am fine with on a part-time basis but neither of whom I’d prefer as a starter. Additionally, both can play third if Devers needs a day off. Really, third base is the spot on the infield at which the Red Sox have the most depth. Second base would plug a bigger hole in the lineup while also creating more depth.
When we talk about Beltre specifically, there are two ways to look at this. The first is focusing on the here and now and seeing what he brings to the table to help the 2018 Red Sox. This view is not great. Beltre is having his worst season in about a decade. He’s striking out more than ever and his power has completely disappeared. Furthermore, although he is one of the best defensive third basemen the game has ever seen, he isn’t playing there everyday anymore. He’s spent some time at DH this year as he is in his age-39 season.
The other side of the coin is that he’s Adrian freakin’ Beltre! Not only is he a future Hall of Famer and one of the best players of his generation, but he’s also one of the most beloved Red Sox players of the last decade. That’s even crazier given that he only spent a year in Boston. He’s a big ball of fun, though, and wildly easy to root for. That carries into real value, too, as he’s acknowledged as one of the best leaders in the game. It’s a quality that is good for the clubhouse as a whole, and specifically as a possible mentor for Devers. It’s also a quality that will drive his price up a bit, as the Rangers wouldn’t mind keeping him around the clubhouse for the rest of the year.
Ultimately, I don’t think this deal will get done, but it’s obviously possible. I would never complain about this trade if it did happen, either. Beltre is one of my favorites too, and I would be psyched to root for him in Boston again. From a purely baseball perspective, however, I just don’t understand going this route instead of looking for a second baseman.
TR Sullivan, the Rangers reporter for MLB.com, is reporting that a Beltre deal is unlikely at this time.
Rangers don't see Beltre going anywhere....Atlanta appears to be dead.... Beltre might be interested in going to Boston but the Red Sox don't appear motivated to explore that...— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) July 31, 2018