There's been a lot of talk this spring about whether the Rangers should sign third baseman Adrian Beltre to a contract extension. While Beltre has been a productive, mostly healthy player for most of two decades -- including the last five years in Texas -- he just celebrated his 37th birthday, meaning he's at the age where teams get anxious about handing out multiyear deals.
According to Ken Rosenthal's latest, Beltre probably wouldn't have signed a long-term deal during his last free-agent go-around if former commissioner Bud Selig had his way. Here's the crux:
According to a major-league source, former commissioner Bud Selig sharply criticized the Rangers at an owners meeting after the team signed Beltre to a five-year, $80 million free-agent deal in Jan. 2011; Beltre was entering his age-32 season, and Selig felt the team was taking an undue risk.
As Rosenthal noted, Beltre's contract has since turned into a bargain. He's earned MVP consideration each winter, made three All-Star teams, and hit .309/.358/.514 with 136 home runs during his time in Texas -- oh, and he's accomplished that while playing elite defense at the hot corner. Add it all up, sprinkle in whatever value you want to give him as a clubhouse presence, and you have one of the best players in baseball during that stretch. And a player, who, provided this season goes smoothly, deserves another multiyear contract come winter.
Selig's annoyance at Beltre's original pact with the Rangers just goes to show: nobody knows how most free-agent deals will work out -- not even the commissioner.