MLB trade deadline rumors: Phillies have interest in Adrian Beltre to upgrade third base
The Phillies rank dead last in MLB in third base WAR
The Philadelphia Phillies have taken significant steps forward with their rebuild this season. The team is 39-33 coming into Thursday and they're currently tied with the Washington Nationals for the second wild card spot. They're 3 1/2 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
It is not surprising then that the Phillies are reportedly looking for upgrades prior to the trade deadline. Specifically, they have their eyes on Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com. From Morosi:
The Phillies also have interest in Beltre, sources say, as much for his professionalism as his production. The Phils have the youngest group of position players in the majors, and team officials see long-term value in Beltre's influence on an emerging core. Plus, the recent injury to J.P. Crawford has opened up more at-bats on the infield.
Beltre, 39, is hitting .302/.357/.428 (109 OPS+) with three home runs in 45 games around a hamstring injury this season. The power numbers are not what they once were, but Beltre remains a quality hitter and a very good defender at third base. He represents a clear upgrade over Maikel Franco, who's hitting .240/.284/.409 (87 OPS+) with below-average defense.
As for the Rangers, they are in last place in the AL West and are expected to sell at the trade deadline, most notably impending free agent left-hander Cole Hamels. Beltre is an impending free agent himself. Given his age and the club's need to get younger, it stands to reason Texas will indeed make Beltre available at the deadline. There should be a good bidding war for his services.
At the moment the Phillies have received the worst third base production in baseball -- they are dead last at the position with minus-0.3 WAR this year -- because Franco has been unable to rediscover his 2015 stroke. Furthermore, Philadelphia is averaging only 3.69 runs per game over the last month, so they need a bat regardless of position. Third base is a clear spot to upgrade.
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