Was Adrian Beltre almost an Angel?

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre almost wasn't.

"There was already money, contract on the table," Beltre said as he stood on the field, his red Rangers' American League championship t-shirt drenched with ginger ale. "I was trying to decide which way I wanted to go. I considered both teams. But, I took a long look at this team and I thought that it would give me a better chance to get where I'm at right now."

Beltre said he came close to signing a free-agent contract with another team. Which team? Back in the National League? Maybe an AL West competitor? It might have been too close for comfort for Rangers fans.

"Ah," Beltre said, "I think that is too much information."

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels credited Ron Washington for being a persuasive influence in the signing of the veteran who hit .296 with 32 homers and 105 RBIs -- despite missing five weeks with a hamstring injury -- while bringing Gold Glove-caliber play to the hot corner.

"We knew Anaheim was involved and there may have been some other clubs. There's not much you can do about that. You put your best foot forward, you make your best pitch, Wash was huge in that as far as the recruitment when we met him in Vegas."

Some around baseball scoffed at the long-term commitment the Rangers made to Beltre last winter. No one's laughing now.

Beltre had a difficult ALCS. He fouled a ball hard right below his left knee cap and it clearly affected him over the next two days. More recently he's been battling an illness, one that made him a bit leery about imbibing in any postgame bubbly after Saturday night's 15-5 AL championship-clinching victory over the Detroit Tigers.

"It's going to feel great. I'm a little sick right now so I don't think it's very good for my health, but it's going to feel great. I can't wait to go inside [the clubhouse] and start celebrating."

Beltre started to get his stroke going in Game 5 in Detroit. On Saturday he had two hits, including a run-scoring single in the massive, nine-run third inning.

"It was huge for us," Beltre said of the 17-hit attack. "We haven't really, until today, swung the bat the way we know how we can."