Adrián Beltré could soon face the toughest decision of his career

Adrián Beltré must have a lot on his mind right now. The longtime Texas Rangers third baseman has seen and heard his name mentioned in trade rumors for several weeks. Now though, it’s getting to be crunch time. With less than three days remaining until the non-waiver trade deadline, he might soon be asked to make a major decision that will impact his baseball future.

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That decision, of course, is whether he wants to waive his full no-trade clause.

If the Rangers reach a trade agreement involving Beltré, it will have to go through Beltré for final approval. There’s no indication such a trade is close to happening or will happen at all, but Beltré’s situation really highlights the intensity that surrounds the trade deadline.

A lot can change in a matter of seconds. A process that can take weeks or even months to develop, can completely change with one urgent phone call. For many players involved in trade talks and rumors, there’s no time to ponder what happens next. It’s on to the next place, no questions asked.

As a 21-year major leaguer, a member of the 3,000 hit club and a potential future Hall of Famer, Beltré has at least earned the time to ponder his future.

According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, as it stands right now, Beltré is torn between loyal and an opportunity to maybe, just maybe, win a World Series. It’s a decision Beltré is not taking lightly, because he knows a trade doesn’t guarantee that chance.

“Ultimately, for me, it’s I want to win,” Beltre said before Saturday’s game against the Houston Astros. “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 multi-year 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, 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.”

Opting for a chance to win seems like an easy decision, but there’s something to be said too for seeing through the commitment Beltré and the Rangers made to each other. If a trade clearly benefits both sides, that’s the scenario in which Beltré seems most likely to leave. But it won’t be easy getting to that point.

Is Adrian Beltre spending his final weekend in a Texas Rangers uniform? That decision could be up to him. (AP)

Beltré added that he’s not yet been approached about even considering waiving his no-trade clause. The urgent phone call from a contender, which many speculate will be the Atlanta Braves, hasn’t come just yet. But it could any moment before or even after the non-waiver deadline. Beltré’s a candidate to be traded in August because the remainder of his $18 million salary would likely help him slip through waivers.

In the meantime, whatever added stress there might be hasn’t been showing on the field. Beltré is still approaching the game with the same childlike silliness that we’ve all grown to expect and appreciate. That was on display again Saturday when Beltré turned a strikeout against Justin Verlander into a hilarious standoff with Houston Astros catcher Max Stassi.

Whatever the Rangers do. Wherever Adrián Beltré goes. We hope he never changes.

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