ARLINGTON, Texas -- This week, we'll take a look at some players that the Rangers have had some reported interest in as we head toward next weekend's trade deadline.
We'll start with Carlos Beltran since he's been in the news so much the past few days, though the bullpen remains this club's priority. We'll get to that. Our buddy Adam Rubin at ESPNNewYork.com reports Carlos Beltran would prefer to stay in the National League and does not want to be a designated hitter. Add in that ESPN.com's Jayson Stark said Beltran had a conversation with a friend and said he doesn't want to go to the Rangers or Red Sox and this looks highly doubtful.
Beltran has a full no-trade clause, so he certainly has an impact on where (or if) he's dealt prior to next Sunday's 3 p.m. Dallas time trade deadline. And he appears to not want to have to try to face a bunch of AL pitching that he isn't used to seeing.
Does that mean the Rangers are completely out of it? Not necessarily. If the right deal is there, sometimes a player can be convinced. If the Mets are still willing to discuss the deal with AL teams, it's still a possibility. A few things that could be in Beltran's favor if dealt here:
1. He would not be a DH in Texas. Sure, manager Ron Washington likes to get guys off their feet by using that DH spot at times, but Michael Young is the primary DH when this team is healthy.
2. He wouldn't necessarily have to play center field (certainly not all the time). Stark said Beltran believes the Rangers want him to play center and they have tried to keep Josh Hamilton in left as much as possible to help with the wear and tear on his body. But with two months left in the season at that point, why not go with an outfield alignment of Nelson Cruz in left, Hamilton in center and Beltran in right? That's realistic and would be a nice outfield in the postseason.
3. Beltran wants to go to a contender. There's no doubt that's what the defending American League champions are this season.
One thing to also consider: Beltran has it in his contract that he can't be offered arbitration, though his high salary makes that prohibitive anyway. It means that the team that trades for him won't get any draft picks if he signs elsewhere. That can't help his value.
If he decides no matter what that he's not going to the AL, there's nothing the Rangers can do. Beltran has the hammer. But there's still time to see if he'd change his mind, especially if the Mets feel like they'd like to deal with Texas instead of a National League contender. But Beltran's statements certainly make it seem like it's unlikely. Stay tuned.