Adrian Beltre has had a Hall of Fame caliber career, though has done so seemingly under the radar to many baseball fans. On Sunday, Hall of Fame induction day in Cooperstown, the 38-year-old third baseman reached another milestone and etched his name into baseball history.
With his family in attendance and in front of the home crowd at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Beltre accomplished his massive feat just the way that he had wanted to. In his second at bat, he got ahead of Wade Miley 3-0 then lined a sharp double down the third base line. In doing so, he became just the 31st player in Major League history to accumulate 3,000 hits. Beltre is also the first Dominican-born player to join the illustrious club.
The game was paused after Beltre checked into second base to allow for celebration. With fireworks booming overhead, the third baseman’s children ran out onto the field and unveiled a special façade on the on the wall in right center field that was dedicated to his monumental achievement.
He then had time to embrace his children and his wife in a special moment that touched him. "What happened today after the hit has been the best moment in my life… I saw the joy in their faces, and a lot of things you do in your career you do for your kids and your family. My kids and my wife have been so supportive over the years, that this moment was for them. When I saw that, I felt like I was on a cloud, because I really saw the joy in their faces. It was a nice moment to enjoy with them -- my family, my wife."
While he was already destined for Cooperstown, this milestone will certainly swing many of the Hall of Fame voters who weren’t already enamored with all of the accomplishments over his terrific career. Achieving this momentous milestone on the day that Rangers’ legend Ivan Rodriguez was one of three players inducted into the Hall of Fame could have been a bit foretelling as well.
Beltre is a four-time All-Star. He has won five Gold Glove awards at third base, including last season as a 37-year-old. He has also won four Silver Slugger awards. Beltre clubbed a league-leading 48 home runs for the Dodgers in 2004 and finished second in the voting for National League MVP. He led the American League in hits with 199 as a member of the Rangers in 2013.
Beltre has 605 doubles in his career which ties him with Paul Molitor and Paul Waner for the 12th most in Major League history.
He has 454 home runs in his big league career, which ranks 38th all-time.
His 1607 RBI rank 35th all-time, trailing only Albert Pujols among active players.
He’s also showing no signs at all of slowing down. While the start to his season was delayed by injuries, he’s hitting a robust .307/.382/.534 with nine homers and 36 RBI in his first 217 plate appearances this season. He’s doing that as a 38-year-old and while playing a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman.
He’s signed through the 2018 season and could look to continue playing after that.
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Cubs swoop in and land Wilson
The Chicago Cubs seemingly came out of nowhere to swoop in and make a major move on Sunday night. In a deal that seemed to develop quickly, the Cubs agreed to acquire left-hander Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila from the Tigers in exchange for prospects Jeimer Candelario, Isaac Paredes and a player to be named later or cash considerations.
The Cubs have come out of the All-Star break with vengeance, going 13-3 to surge to the top of the National League Central where they now hold a 2 ½ game advantage.
Their bullpen receives a major upgrade in this deal with Wilson, a power left-hander who owns a 2.68 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 55/16 K/BB ratio across 40 1/3 innings on the season. He’ll be slotted in the eighth inning in front of Wade Davis but has also proven his ability to get outs in the ninth inning as well.
As he is under contract for the 2018 season as well, he could be viewed as a contingency option if the club is unable to re-sign Wade Davis.
They also bolster their bench with the addition of Alex Avila. Willson Contreras is firmly entrenched as the club’s starting catcher, but Avila provides a massive upgrade to their backup spot and also a left-handed power bat off of the bench.
The 30-year-old is in the midst of the best season of his career, slashing .274/.394/.475 with 11 homers and 32 RBI in 264 plate appearances. In completing this deal, Al Avila became the first general manager since 1968 to trade his own son in a major league deal.
Avila was nearly universally blasted for the poor return that he netted last week when dealing J.D. Martinez to the Diamondbacks. The reactions around baseball seem to indicate he did a much better job this time around.
Candelario ranked as the Cubs’ top prospect (and #92 overall) according to MLB Pipeline. The 23-year-old was hitting s 266/.361/.507 with 12 homers and 52 RBI in 81 games at Triple-A Iowa this season. He’s an upper-echelon prospect that is close to big league ready, which is exactly what the club was searching for in this deal.
The Tigers also landed 18-year-old Isaac Paredes in the deal. He was ranked as the #10 prospect in the Cubs’ system prior to the season but could crack the top 100 in all of baseball next season. The shortstop has terrific power potential and a cannon for an arm. He's hitting .261/.341/.399 with seven homers and 49 RBI in 91 games at Class-A South Bend this season.
A Grand Ol’ Time
The Blue Jays entered the ninth inning on Sunday trailing the Angels 10-4. In club history, they had never overcome a deficit of six runs or more in the final frame. Until this season though, they didn’t have Steve Pearce.
Pearce was already having a terrific week, having blasted his first career walk-off home run (a grand slam no less) in Thursday’s victory over the Athletics.
The 34-year-old had a chance to make some history on Sunday as he strode to the dish with the bags full after the Jays had already pushed three runs across off of the Angels’ bullpen.
After getting ahead in the count 2-0, Pearce crushed a Bud Norris offering into the left field stands for his second walk-off grand slam in the past four days.
In doing so, he became just the third player in MLB history to hit a pair of walk-off grand slams in the same season, joining Jim Presley (1986) and Cy Williams (1926),
Rockies snag Lucroy
The Colorado Rockies made a move to upgrade their offense on Sunday, snagging Jonathan Lucroy from the Rangers for a player to be named later.
Lucroy is set to hit free agency following this season, so the Rangers were happy to flip him for whatever they could prior to the trade deadline, especially since he had been outplayed by Robinson Chirinos this season.
The 31-year-old backstop has been one of the biggest disappointments in all of baseball this season, slashing just 242/.297/.338 with four homers and 27 RBI on the season. Perhaps a move back to the National League and into the offensive haven that is Coors Field is exactly what he needs to turn things around.
Remember, prior to this year Lucroy had been one of the best and most consistent offensive performers behind the plate in all of baseball. Over the previous four seasons he had averaged .286/.351/.457 with 16 homers and 69 RBI.
As long as he’s healthy, and presumably the Rockies checked him out medically prior to making the trade, there’s reason to believe a rebound is coming the rest of the way.
American League Quick Hits: The Royals bolstered their outfield on Sunday, acquiring Melky Cabrera from the White Sox in exchange for prospects Andre Davis and A.J. Puckett… Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Indians have talked to the Rangers about ace right-hander Yu Darvish… The talks between the Yankees and Athletics regarding Sonny Gray appear to be at a standstill. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that both sides feel they have already made major concessions and don’t want to budge any further… Yonder Alonso crushed a walk-off solo homer to beat the Twins in the 12th inning… Leonys Martin went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in his first game back with the Mariners… James Paxton fanned eight over six shutout innings to defeat the Mets. In doing so, he became the first hurler in club history to win six games in a month… Welington Castillo homered and plated four runs as the O’s blasted the Rangers… Rougned Odor left the yard twice and drove in five in a losing effort there… Rafael Devers swatted his second home run as the Red Sox fell to the Royals… Justin Upton went 4-for-5 with a grand slam and six RBI as the Tigers routed the Astros… Justin Verlander fanned six over six scoreless innings in the victory… Matt Davidson blasted a walk-off two-run homer to sink the Indians… Albert Pujols went 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs as the Angels fell to the Blue Jays… Kole Calhoun left that game with a right hamstring injury and could be heading to the disabled list… Carlos Rodon fanned nine over 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Tribe… The Red Sox continue to talk to the Mets about Addison Reed, but nothing appears imminent at the moment… Josh Tomlin was lifted from his start against the White Sox after four no-hit innings due to an apparent hamstring injury… Mark Trumbo was scratched from the O’s lineup due to a minor back injury. He’s considered day-to-day… An MRI revealed Troy Tulowitzki has ligament damage in his injured ankle, which could end his season.
National League Quick Hits: Chris Owings was diagnosed with a fractured middle finger after getting drilled by a Lance Lynn fastball during Sunday’s game. He’ll meet with a hand specialist in Arizona before determining a timeline for his recovery… Kyle Farmer delivered a walk-off two-run double in his first major league at-bat, leading the Dodgers to a comeback victory over the Giants in the 11th inning… Hyun-Jin Ryu and Madison Bumgarner each struck out seven over seven shutout innings in dueling no-decisions… Sean Doolittle secured his third save in as many chances with the Nationals and looks to be gaining manager Dusty Baker’s confidence in the closer’s role… Andrew McCutchen clobbered three solo home runs in a rout of the Padres. It was the third three-homer game in the star outfielder’s career… Gerrit Cole fanned eight over seven innings of one-run baseball in that victory… Erick Fedde struggled in his big league debut, allowing seven runs (five earned) over four innings against the Rockies… Ryan Zimmerman homered twice as the Nationals fell to the Rockies in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader… Freddy Galvis went 3-for-5 including a walk-off RBI single to beat the Braves… R.A. Dickey fanned eight and didn’t allow an earned run over seven innings in a tough luck no-decision… Braves’ manager Brian Snitker announced that he would’ve turned to Arodys Vizcaino if the club had a save situation on Sunday. Jim Johnson was used to start the eighth inning in a tied game and may be getting pushed out of the closer’s role… Vince Velasquez punched out six over seven shutout frames in a no-decision against the Braves… Trevor Rosenthal worked a perfect ninth inning against the Diamondbacks to secure his sixth save of the season… Josh Harrison was lifted from Sundays’ game with lower leg discomfort. He’s day-to-day… Luis Castillo whiffed six over eight innings of one-run ball in an impressive victory over the hot-hitting Marlins… According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Padres have not budged on their asking price for left-hander Brad Hand… Anthony Rizzo sat out Sunday’s game due to a sore back, but isn’t expected to miss any additional time.