May 22, 2014

Time for the #Rangers to trade Beltre?

First, we find out that Prince Fielder is having the neck disc surgery and will be gone for the year. Next, we learn that Jurickson Profar has retweaked his teres muscle and will not come up until September, it seems.

No matter Ron Washington's luck, or chemistry production, to overcome his bunting lunacy, his idiocy in playing Fielder ahead of Mitch Moreland on defense at first and other things, his super-Pythagorean can't overcome this.

The Rangers' lineup is now Shin-Soo Choo, Adrian Beltre, kind-of sort-of Alex Rios and a bunch of creampuffs.

Kevin Sherrington suggests Rios is the best trade bait. I think not. He's a free agent after this year on a club option after this year that may be a bit pricey, and medium-level outfielders besides him will be available in trade sometime this year. The Cards may trade out of their outfield surplus with a less pricey outfielder, for example.

So, the Rangers have one smart trade piece to offer.

It's Beltre.

And, there's one team out there ...

A contender ...

With money to take on all of Beltre's salary for this year and next ...

With a current black hole of sorts at 3B ...

With a general manager who likes older players.

Come on down, San Francisco Giants!

Beltre's a big upgrade with both bat and glove over Pablo Sandoval. Only question is what Brian Sabean has to offer in return.

Back-up catcher Hector Sanchez, I would think, would be the starting point for any trade talks. He's a solid hitter in somewhat limited action so far and grades slightly above average defensively. In short, he'd be the best Rangers catcher in at least half a decade, and just starts arbitration next year. Tyler Colvin might be worth being part of the mix; would be easier to take a gamble on letting Rios walk. After that, look for a couple of prospects, one of them a pitcher, since the Rangers are shaky there with the injury situation of Martin Perez and Matt Harrison.

Per Cot's Contracts, the Giants are carrying $149M this year in salaries. In 2015, Sandoval of course would be gone. We'll assume somebody pays him $12M/yr minimum. So, Beltre's $18M is an additional $6M in 2015, and an extra $4M if his option for 2016 vests, as is likely. Other Giant free agents next year are Michael Morse, Sergio Romo, and Ryan Vogelsong. I'll assume that the Giants resign Morse for a decent hike, let Vogelsong walk and resign Romo for a modest hike. I'll assume that's a net wash. In 2016, the likely-retiring Tim Hudson comes off the books, as does Mr. Marijuana, Tim Lincecum, whom the Giants won't resign if they're smart.

As for other possible trade partners? Brew Crew has nowhere near the money to take Beltre's full contract. Braves might not. Yankees certainly do, but what players do they have to offer? Tigers passed on Drew, so I presume they'd not take Beltre's full contract. Giants are best smart bet. (A friend of mine has just suggested the Royals go all-in, but, I don't see that happening. Plus, since Beltre likely has two years left on his contract after this one, if "all-in" falls short, they're in financial iffiness. That said, I'm sure they have prospects the Rangers would like.)

On the Giants' side? They get someone who's definitely playing third better this year, someone who can be more of a clubhouse leader for sure, and someone who, even with a few more years under his belt, is a better defender than Sandoval.  They also get relieved of the headaches of messing with Sandoval.

On the Rangers' salary side? There's several minor free agents next year but no biggies, other than presumably getting Sandoval sent back. With losing Beltre's contract, they'd have money not just for arbitration for Sanchez, but maybe to buy out his arbitration years plus the start of free agency, and to give Colvin, if he were in the deal, a moderate bump over his current $1M. They could then decide how low to price Sandoval.

On the Ranger fandom side? If you're touting Jorge Alfaro, a high-A minors player, as the most likely catcher of the future within the current system, wouldn't you like to have an option or two?

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