It makes perfect sense.
The Toronto Blue Jays desperately need a reliable glove and consistent bat at the hot corner. Neither Brett Lawrie nor Juan Francisco has been able to satisfy both requirements, and now the Jay have been forced to experiment with Munenori Kawasaki at third base.
Fortunately, there might be an ideal solution available on the trade market and his name is Adrian Beltre.
Beltre has two years left on a six-year contract that’ll pay him $18 million in 2015 and a conditional $16 million in 2016. This is quite expensive, but we know the Jays are open to the idea of assuming additional payroll if it can help the team win. The Jays could also opt to use the money presumably reserved for Melky Cabrera on Beltre if they feel he offers the best bang for the buck.
Looking at the Jays’ lack of depth in the outfield, however, it’d be best if both players could somehow find their ways into the lineup.
A trade might be possible because the Texas Rangers are apparently sellers right now and Beltre, at 35 years of age, may no longer fit their long-term plans. Assuming Texas is about to begin a mini-rebuild, he’s one of their strongest assets and biggest liabilities at the same time.
On the other hand, Beltre is the right fit for the Jays, who’re built to win now notwithstanding their actual record. Toronto has a veteran core led by Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle, which compliments Beltre’s age.
(Beltre is the second oldest player on the Rangers’ active roster after pitcher Colby Lewis. If Beltre joined the Jays, he’d be the third oldest player on the active roster, but the generational gap in the infield and the batting order wouldn’t appear as large.)
By adding Beltre, the Jays would be able to solve their middle infield problem as well. Lawrie could be moved to second base permanently and Kawasaki demoted to the bench as a utility player. In turn, the Jays could finally put an end to the Steve Tolleson and Ryan Goins experiments.
Who needs Chase Headley – a player defined by inconsistency – when you can add someone’s of Beltre’s caliber?
Toronto was reportedly scouting Alex Rios earlier this week when the Rangers were in town, but I’d like to think they were actually scouting Beltre. If anything, he makes better sense as a potential trade target for the Jays given their current identity and overall age. I’m not sure fans would welcome Rios back either.
A deal for Beltre would send a powerful message to fans and opponents alike: this team might be broken, but management’s willing to fix that.
At this point, the idea of adding Beltre is pure speculation, but if we’ve learned anything from Alex Anthopoulos, it’s that the young general manager likes to keep his cards close to his chest and play at the right odds.