Bel­tre’s choice: Win­ning or Rangers

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Mlb - By Jeff Wil­son Fort Worth Star-Tele­gram

HOUS­TON — At least Adrian Bel­tre still has his sense of hu­mor. As for his sense of where he will be Wed­nes­day, he said that he has no idea.

Wed­nes­day is the day af­ter the an­nual non­waiver trade dead­line, and as of Satur­day the Texas Rangers had not pre­sented him with any pro­pos­als to re­ject or ac­cept.

But he con­tin­ues to find him­self on the trad­ing block, though in full con­trol of his fu­ture thanks to his full no-trade rights. Rangers gen­eral man­ager Jon Daniels said as re­cently as Fri­day that the Rangers hold him in higher re­gard than just his on-field per­for­mance.

Bel­tre also con­tin­ues to find him­self torn be­tween his de­sire to win a World Series and his loy­alty to the Rangers. He isn’t sure what he will do if Daniels finds a deal that is good for the club and for Bel­tre.

“Ul­ti­mately, for me, it’s I want to win,” Bel­tre said. “And I’m caught up in be­tween the or­ga­ni­za­tion that gave me the chance to win for many years, the or­ga­ni­za­tion that trusted me enough to sign me to mul­ti­year con­tracts mul­ti­ple times. The fans, I could ask noth­ing bet­ter than the way the Texas fans have re­ceived me in this state.

“But, ul­ti­mately, I do want to win. It’s a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion for me. And, ob­vi­ously, Texas Rangers third base­man Adrian Bel­tre said on Satur­day that if he plays in 2019, he wants to do so with the Rangers, a fac­tor that could com­pli­cate a trade.

if I get traded to a team that has a chance to win, we might not end up get­ting there. It’s go­ing to come along if the right sit­u­a­tion works for both par­ties.”

The one thing hold­ing Bel­tre back from ac­cept­ing a trade is whether he plans to re­tire or play an­other sea­son. He said on Satur­day that if he plays in 2019, he wants to do so with the Rangers.

If Bel­tre can re­ceive as­sur­ances from Daniels that he will be re-signed, he might be more open to ac­cept­ing a trade.

Daniels, though, made it sound Fri­day as if a team that wants Bel­tre will need

to pay to get him be­cause of how much the Rangers value him.

“His value to us is dif­fer­ent than his per­for­mance or sta­tis­ti­cal line,“Daniels said. ”We’ve got the most games played by play­ers un­der 25 years old in the big leagues. We’re a young group. The value of Adrian with that group is real. The value of Adrian’s legacy with our or­ga­ni­za­tion is real. He and I have had a num­ber of con­ver­sa­tions. I’m not say­ing that a deal can’t hap­pen — it may — but there are some dif­fer­ent el­e­ments at play for us.”

Bel­tre has al­ready topped 3,000 hits and en­tered Satur­day 33 home runs shy of

500. He is a shoo-in for the Na­tional Base­ball Hall of Fame five years af­ter he re­tires.

He came within one out of a world ti­tle in 2011, only to see the St. Louis Car­di­nals spoil the Rangers’ dreams. He has been to the post­sea­son four times with the Rangers, but they were elim­i­nated in the fi­nal week last sea­son, won’t be go­ing this sea­son and ap­pear to be headed to an­other down sea­son in 2019.

But he doesn’t want to go to a team and not be al­lowed to con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly along the way. He wants to earn his ring, not just be a pinch-hit­ter and team leader.

Mar­lins vs. Na­tion­als

When/where: 1:10 p.m., Mar­lins Park, Mi­ami

ON THE AIR

Fox Sports Florida; Ra­dio: 940-AM, 710 AM (Span­ish)

ON THE MOUND

Mar­lins RHP José Ureña (2-10, 4.63 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) vs. Na­tion­als RHP Jeremy Hel­lick­son (4-1, 3.44, 1.09): Ureña will make his team-lead­ing 21st start of the sea­son. … The

26 year old has lasted just four in­nings in each of his past two starts, al­low­ing five earned runs on both oc­ca­sions. In nine ca­reer ap­pear­ances ver­sus Washington, he’s 1-2 with a

5.08 ERA. … Ureña is look­ing for his first win at Mar­lins Park since Sep. 20, 2017 — a span of 14 starts. … Hel­lick­son is

2-0 in July, post­ing a 5.40 ERA. … Fac­ing the Mar­lins on July

5, the right-han­der al­lowed nine runs and eight earned runs in four in­nings. … Hel­lick­son went five in­nings in his last start, giv­ing up three earned runs against the Brew­ers. Mon­day — Mar­lins LHP Wei-Yin Chen at Braves RHP Julio Te­heran; Tues­day — Mar­lins RHP Dan Straily vs. Braves RHP Ani­bal Sanchez

UP­COM­ING SERIES

Mon­day-Wed­nes­day at Braves; Aug. 2-5 at Phillies; Aug. 6-8

“It’s go­ing to come down to what works for the team and what works for me,” Bel­tre said. “A chance for me to — if we go down that route — ac­tu­ally be part of that team, not just sit­ting on the bench. A chance for me to play. I’m not go­ing to specif­i­cally say, ‘I need to play ev­ery day,’ but con­trib­ute to that team to win the World Series. But it’s a mat­ter of what that team needs and what their of­fer to the Rangers looks like.”

The At­lanta Braves have been men­tioned as a po­ten­tial fit, in part be­cause former Rangers man­ager Ron Washington is their third­base coach, but a source said that the Braves aren’t sure if Bel­tre wants to be traded. The Braves’ tal­ent-rich farm sys­tem could eas­ily sat­isfy the Rangers’ de­mands.

The Cleveland In­di­ans have also been linked to Bel­tre, — Wells Dusen­bury

Late game

The Mar­lins-Na­tion­als game was not com­plete in time for this edi­tion. Sun­Sen­tinel.com/sports

even though they have All-Star third base­man Jose Ramirez. But Ramirez can also play sec­ond base, where Ja­son Kip­nis has strug­gled this sea­son, and a move there could cre­ate an open­ing for Bel­tre.

But there are no guar­an­tees that a move to a con­tender will pro­duce that ring Bel­tre is seek­ing. He hasn’t been given the op­tion yet.

“I think it’s pre­ma­ture, be­cause the ball is go­ing to be in my court once they agree to some­thing and I have to say yes or no,” he said. “I’m play­ing to­day. That’s what I know.”

ROGER STEIN­MAN/AP

TV: vs. Car­di­nals

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