Locking up Adrian Beltre sets up multiple possibilities for Rangers

Adrian Beltre and the Texas Rangers have agreed to a two-year, $36 million extension that runs through the 2018 season, according to T.R. Sullivan of TexasRangers.com. Beltre, who just turned 37 on April 7, had reportedly been seeking a three-year deal for $19-20 million per season, similar to Pablo Sandoval’s contract in Boston. With Beltre being represented by Scott Boras, it seemed that it would be difficult to negotiate for less, but now, with this two-year deal in place, it’s likely that he will finish out his career in a Texas uniform.

Beyond keeping Beltre around through 2018, the extension has other implications that could impact the trade market. Power-hitting prospect Joey Gallo, who received his first taste of big league action in 2015, is currently playing third base at Triple-A Round Rock, and will be in need of a position once he comes back to Arlington for good.

Having shown previous reluctance to deal their prized prospect, the easy solution would seem to be moving Gallo over to first base, as it’s unlikely that Mitch Moreland will be back in 2017. Now signed through his age-39 season, Beltre will likely need some games at DH moving forward, a spot currently occupied by Prince Fielder. Josh Hamilton is also under contract through 2017, and with injuries always a concern, he’ll likely require some DH time as well.

In locking up Beltre, it could signal that Texas could look to find a trade partner for Fielder after the 2016 season. If Gallo shows continued improvement and Hamilton comes back at least relatively healthy in May, such a trade could be sought out before this summer’s trade deadline.

Fielder is due to make $24 million in 2016 as well as in each of the next four seasons, with the Detroit Tigers paying $6 million of his salary each season. Texas could conceivably pay some of his contract in order to move him.

Another option could be to gauge interest in Hamilton. Once the prized offseason acquisition of the Los Angeles Angels prior to the 2013 season, the Angels are now paying all but about $4 million of the $56.8 million owed to him through the 2017 season to play for Texas. As a cost-controlled asset, Hamilton could generate some interest from a contending club around the trade deadline if he’s able to show that his balky left knee is relatively healthy.

No matter which path Texas chooses to take, getting Beltre signed to an extension would seem to signal that the organization might have some high-profile pieces on the trade block moving forward.

Brandon Land writes about the Texas Rangers as part of the SweetSpot network at OneStrikeAway.com.