ARLINGTON (AP) – Adrian Beltre is signed through next season with Texas, and wants his 21st major league season to be with the Rangers.
The third baseman who joined the 3,000-hit club this season also wants another chance to win a World Series.
And there lies a possible conundrum for the Rangers (78-84) coming off only their second losing season in nine years. While Beltre and Elvis Andrus provide solid leadership and offense, and there are young sluggers like Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor, the starting rotation is thin going into the offseason and the bullpen needs a boost.
“There’s no doubt that we have a lot of questions to be answered,” said Beltre, who will turn 39 early next season.
Beltre wants to know that the Rangers are still trying to win, and not planning a rebuild, and has spoken with general manager Jon Daniels about that.
“It doesn’t matter what stage (of his career) he’s at, that’s always where his head is. … He wants to win,” Daniels said. “That’s a lot of what he brings to the table, that winning mindset. I wouldn’t expect anything less.”
Beltre finally got to play in the World Series in 2011, his first season with the Rangers. They won the AL West the past two seasons, then lost to Toronto in the AL Division Series. He hit .312 this season, starting 51 games late because of calf issues and ending the year with a strained left hamstring.
Ace pitcher Yu Darvish, near the end of his six-year contract after leaving Japan, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for three prospects on July 31. That was the day after Beltre got his 3,000th career hit .
With Andrew Cashner (11-11, 3.40 ERA) set to become a free agent, the remaining starters set for the rotation are left-handers Cole Hamels (11-6) and Martin Perez (13-12).
After a single in Sunday’s finale for his 3,048th hit, Beltre was lifted for a pinch-runner and got an extended rousing ovation. He was asked after the curtain call if he thought it might his last in Texas.
“You never know obviously,” Beltre said. “The future is always up in the air, and obviously I don’t want that to be the case. But it’s out of my control right now.”
Some other things to know after the Rangers missed the playoffs for the first time in manager Jeff Banister’s three seasons:
Hamels ended the season healthy after missing more than seven weeks with a right oblique strain. He threw only 148 innings after seven consecutive years of at least 200 innings.
“You want to finish the season healthy. I think that’s the case, and it’s good to build off of that,” Hamels said.
SOME NOTABLE NUMBERS
Odor was the first Ranger to play all 162 games since Michael Young and Mark Teixeira in 2006. Odor hit only .204 but had 30 home runs. Nomar Mazara’s two-run single in his final at-bat gave him 101 RBIs. Juan Gonzalez and Ruben Sierra are the only other Rangers with 100-RBI seasons at age 22 or younger. Andrus had career highs with 191 hits, 100 runs, 44 doubles, 20 homers and 88 RBIs.
GALLO GOING DEEP
With Beltre on the DL, Joey Gallo started the season as the everyday third baseman. The 23-year-old slugger remained in the majors all season playing third, first base and left field. His 41 homers ranked third in the AL.
Willie Calhoun, the primary prospect the Rangers got back in the Darvish deal, hit .265 with a homer in 13 games after his September call-up. He finished with a five-game winning streak. Mainly a second baseman in the Dodgers organization, Calhoun also showed some progress playing left field.
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