Future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre will be the first to tell you that his 2018 season has not met the standards he sets for himself. Fans aren’t too excited about it either as the 39 year-old has battled nagging injuries throughout the year that have put him on the disabled list multiple times. Entering Monday night, the slugger’s OPS of .759 for the season was his lowest since the .683 he had in 2009 with the Seattle Mariners.
Throughout the month of August, Beltre was struggling with baseball both on and off the field. It’s possible that the mental hassle of potentially being traded to a contender before or after either of the July or August 31st trade deadlines was affecting his ability to perform at the peak of his ability.
The subject of a potential move has followed Beltre basically ever since the Rangers fell out of the playoff race back in April. With the veteran’s contract expiring after this season and him being at this late stage of his career, questions about him being a movable piece were a natural fit. When Beltre’s injuries began to keep him off the field, his resume for the season began to become less like one of a must-have veteran for a contending team to pick up at the trade deadline. Surprisingly, there apparently still were suitors back in July and even just a few weeks ago before the waiver trade deadline on August 31st. Even if there were teams knocking at the door, the husband, father and third baseman in his eighth season with the Rangers was not stoked about just any opportunity to uproot his life for a two month chase of the elusive championship ring.
“I was not eager to leave this place. I’ve been here for eight years. I’ve been grateful for the chance to be in the World Series and almost win it,” Beltre told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News earlier this month. “It’s not easy to just pack your things and go.”
Those are touching words from the man who sits just outside the top ten in games played in Rangers history, and it now appears certain he will end his career in Texas and be inducted into Cooperstown with a “T” on his hat. Back in August, it really seemed like a sure thing that Beltre’s career would end at the conclusion of the 2018 campaign. Then the calendar turned to September and Beltre turned back the clock a bit.
Entering Tuesday night’s game in Anaheim, Beltre has a slash line of .333/.405/.818 with five home runs in 33 September at-bats. His five home runs through ten days this month are already two more than he’s hit in any single month so far this season. The power surged the most last Saturday in Oakland when Beltre was able to knock two out of the Coliseum.
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) September 8, 2018
While Beltre has made it clear that any decision on his future has yet to be made and may not come until December, this late-year surge can’t hurt the chances he returns next spring for another season. Even though he clearly can’t be counted on at the hot corner over the course of a full season anymore, the bat still has plenty of pop and his presence in an increasingly young clubhouse is going to become vital.
Rangers fans will potentially have one last homestand, next week’s series with the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners, to enjoy the fun of Adrian Beltre. Or maybe they have two homestands and all of 2019. Whichever way it plays out, enjoy it while possible. As evidenced by his recent stretch, Beltre sure is enjoying his time on the field.
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