BOSTON — The Red Sox and Rangers have discussed the possibility of bringing Adrian Beltre back to Fenway Park, baseball sources told NBC Sports Boston. It’s unclear if the sides will line up on a trade ahead of Tuesday’s non-waiver deadline.
Beltre, 39 years old and playing in his 21st major league season, is hitting .292 with a .342 on-base percentage and .404 slugging percentage this year, plus five home runs. He's not the slugger he once was but is still capable and could be a mentor for a young team — and a young third baseman, 21-year-old Rafael Devers.
The Sox have been monitoring both the relief and infield market. The team hopes Devers can return from the disabled list after the minimum of 10 days served. He was placed on the DL on Sunday morning with a left hamstring strain.
Even before Devers’ injury, however, the team arguably was in need of infield help.
Although Beltre is a free agent to be after this season, he’s an important part of the Rangers' culture and they’re not likely to part with him just for the sake of making an addition. Beltre is making $18 million this season, and is therefore owed roughly $6 million, with about a third of the season remaining.
The Sox are already over the $237 million competitive balance tax threshold, the highest in baseball. There’s a strong argument that they might as well spend to make that decision worthwhile, considering they’re going to see their 2019 top draft pick fall 10 slots in most any scenario (barring some deal to shed salary, which is not expected and would be surprising as they seek to add talent, not detract).
Beltre played for the Sox for one season, 2010, hitting .321 with 28 home runs. They would have been wise to re-sign him. He's been with the Rangers ever since the 2011 season.