Forget Manny Machado (for now). The Phillies are reportedly also interested in an older third baseman who can still hit but would come much cheaper.
That would be Rangers 3B and future Hall-of-Famer Adrian Beltre, according to MLB's Jon Paul Morosi.
"The Phillies also have interest in Beltre, sources say, as much for his professionalism as his production," Morosi wrote. "The Phils have the youngest group of position players in the Majors, and team officials see long-term value in Beltre's influence on an emerging core."
Beltre turned 39 in April and has been on the DL four times in the last two seasons, including twice this season with hamstring strains. Still, he's remained one of the better all-around third basemen in the majors, hitting .304 with an .877 OPS the last three seasons. He'd be an unquestioned upgrade at third over Maikel Franco, who has talked over the years about how much he admires Beltre's game.
Beltre is in the final year of his contract and is owed $18 million. The deal includes a full no-trade clause and Beltre would need to waive it to potentially join the Phils. The Phillies are a fringe contender but the Rangers are already out of it at 32-44 and 18 games back in the AL West.
This week, Phillies GM Matt Klentak said he is not opposed to trading for a rental player so long as the Phillies hang around the playoff picture in the next month. Royals 3B Mike Moustakas is another player to monitor in that regard.
Of course, this doesn't mean the Phillies are out on Machado but trading for him midseason would be much more complicated and there's little chance he'd re-sign before first testing the free-agent market.
If the Phillies do trade for him, they just have to make sure everyone in the clubhouse knows the rules about touching his head.
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