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Beltre Still Among League's Best

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 4: Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Ranger, right, is congratulated by Mitch Moreland #18 after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Park on October 4, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)

    Adrian Beltre will be 37 years old before the 2016 season is a week old, and yes, his body is slowly beginning to break down, but the 18-year MLB veteran continues to be one of the best third basemen in all of baseball, and it isn't just DFW folks are recognize that fact.

    ESPN's Buster Olney went ahead and called Beltre a future Hall of Famer recently, which for some reason, is still actually one of those popular baseball debates out there, even though it shouldn't be. He then ranked Beltre as the seventh-best third baseman in all of baseball with all things considered — bat and glove.

    Beltre signed with Texas prior to the 2011 season and put up a huge season that year before repeating his success in 2012. In 2013, he failed to reach 100 RBIs for the first time as a Ranger, but did hit 30 homers for the third time in three seasons in Arlington.

    Then, in 2014, injuries and his battered body began to rear its ugly head, and he had just 19 homers and 77 RBIs, but he did hit .324 with an .879 OPS. In 2015, Beltre started off horribly and it appeared he might just be done as he was really bad over the first month. Then he suffered a torn ligament in his thumb that forced him to miss a month before he came back — probably sooner than he should have and played through the pain the rest of the season. He ended up batting .287 with a .788 OPS, 19 homers and 83 RBIs thanks to a huge tear down the stretch in which he had more than one RBI per game over the last 40-something games of the regular season.

    Beltre was named a finalist for the AL Gold Glove, along with Manny Machado and Evan Longoria. Machado won the award, but Beltre had a strong case as he and Colorado's Nolan Arenado were tied in defensive runs saved among MLB third basemen with Beltre having played more than 100 fewer innings because of his injury.

    Beltre is a four-time Gold Glove winner, including his first two years in Texas, and while his aging body might lead many to think he's declined in the field, he really hasn't.

    He's basically an ageless wonder and he is a future Hall of Famer, and we should all cherish our time watching him play here locally for however much longer it is we have to do so.