Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Monday the team has engaged in contract extension negotiations with third baseman Adrian Beltre.

Continue for updates.

Beltre, Rangers Engaged in Talks Pre-Spring Training

Monday, Jan. 11

Greg Tepper of Fox Sports Southwest reported on Daniels’ comments, which were made in an interview on MLB Network. Beltre, 36, is headed into the final season of his six-year, $96 million contract. He’s slated to make $18 million as part of a club option Texas picked up last February.

While still among the best players at his position, Beltre may be in his weakest negotiating spot of the entire contract. He hit .287/.334/.453 with 18 home runs and 83 RBI last season, his worst across-the-board numbers since arriving in 2011. His 4.6 wins above replacement was more than a win drop from 2014 and was saved only by a better-than-expected defensive season, per FanGraphs.

The Rangers can also point out that Beltre will be nearing his 40th birthday on whatever contract he signs next. There is little reason to give him a raise from his current salary, and it may even be in Texas’ best interest to push for a de-escalating contract.

That said, Beltre still ranked sixth at his position in WAR last season and remains a bastion of consistency. His defensive ability is remarkable for a player in his mid-30s, and the wear-and-tear on his body at third isn’t so bad that we should expect a massive atrophy. A slight regression should be expected on the defensive side—his production was his highest since 2009 in that area—but that could be negated by an uptick at the plate.

Projecting him as a four-win player over the course of the contract would put his average annual salary well past the $20 million range. Texas may be getting a bargain if it can keep Beltre at his current rate, and it would be smart to use his age against him in negotiations.

Then again, Beltre has bet big on himself in the past and reaped the rewards. His risky one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2010 paid big dividends when he landed the big Rangers contract he’s soon finishing. If Beltre thinks he can get more money on the open market by waiting things out, he will.


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com