Adrian Beltre was back in Texas, still with the Rangers on Wednesday after a road trip that ended on the same day as the non-waiver trade deadline.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that baseball’s active career hits leader will finish this season, the last on his contract and maybe the last of his Hall of Fame-caliber career, with the last-place Rangers.
The possibility remains that, in the right situation, Beltre could get dealt to a contending team in August for a shot at finally winning a World Series title.
“More or less knowing where I’m going to be for the next — who knows,” Beltre said after the non-waiver deadline passed Tuesday when the Rangers were in Arizona. “I cannot sit here and say 100 percent I’m going to finish the season here, which I’d be happy to do. But you never know what comes up.”
Beltre, 39 and in his 21st big league season, has been to the World Series only once . That was in 2011, his first season in Texas.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was in constant contact with the Beltre in the weeks leading up to the non-waiver deadline, letting the veteran third baseman know when other teams inquired about him. Beltre, who could veto any trade, also gave the GM some feedback on the teams that made sense to him and why.
“If he was going to go somewhere, it was going to be somewhere he could win, but also somewhere he could play and contribute,” Daniels said.
“He didn’t want to be a cheerleader. He was very clear about that. He also was very clear that he didn’t want to go somewhere that would lead us to not getting a good deal.”
Beltre, who described the last couple of weeks as “a lot of thinking” and “wait and see,” said nothing got close enough for him to have to make a decision. He said there weren’t many teams willing to meet his requirements.
“I didn’t want to be a bench player, and it didn’t work out,” Beltre said, not identifying any potential teams.
The Rangers, who swept three games at defending World Series champion Houston before splitting two interleague games in Arizona, had a day off Wednesday before starting a seven-game homestand. They play four games against Baltimore, the opponent when Beltre got his 3,000th career hit last year, and three against Seattle, one of his former teams.
Beltre, a four-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner, is a .287 career hitter with 3,127 hits and 467 homers. His average this season is the same, .287, with five homers and 33 RBIs in 75 games that include 21 starts as the designated hitter.
Like pretty much all Texas players, Beltre will be put through trade waivers this month. If Beltre is claimed by another team, the Rangers would have two days to work out a deal or pull back the waiver claim. If he clears waivers, a deal could be made with any club.
Daniels said he would keep an open communication with Beltre like he has throughout the process.
Beltre has indicated that if he plays another season, he’d like to finish his career with the Rangers. When Daniels was asked if he expected Beltre to play again next year, he said he didn’t know.
“I don’t know that he knows,” the GM said. “What he’s told us is very similar to what he said publicly, which is he’s going to digest everything, go home and be with his family, see how his body feels in the winter.
“I don’t know if that’s November, December, January,” Daniels said. “I don’t know what exactly the timeline is, and I don’t think it’s really fair of us to ask him right now.”