During an offseason in which the Texas Rangers tried to re-sign ace Cliff Lee, Adrian Beltre might be their biggest investment in run prevention.
Yes, even though Beltre plays third base.
The Rangers announced their six-year, $96 million deal with the two-time Gold Glove winner on Wednesday. And it appears Beltre is the last big-dollar Scott Boras client they will sign this winter.
Closer Rafael Soriano, the best unsigned player with the Boras A.C., isn’t a target of the Rangers. One source told FOXSports.com on Thursday that the Rangers didn’t actively pursue Soriano at all this winter.
One theory held that Texas could sign Soriano and move Neftali Feliz — who earned Rookie of the Year honors as a closer — into the rotation. The Rangers are indeed open to the idea of putting Feliz into the rotation. But if they use Feliz as a starter without further upgrading the bullpen, then Alexi Ogando or Frank Francisco will need to handle the ninth inning.
At present, the Rangers’ rotation has C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Brandon Webb locked into the top three spots, assuming Webb is healthy. The remaining jobs would go to a combination of Tommy Hunter, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Eric Hurley, Scott Feldman and Michael Kirkman.
Beltre’s glove figures into those plans. At Rangers Ballpark, it’s wise for pitchers to keep the ball on the ground, and left-handed pitchers generally face a lot of right-handed hitters. So, having Beltre at third base should be an asset for the southpaws in that group: Wilson, Holland, Harrison, Kirkman, along with relievers Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes.
— Jon Paul Morosi