Rangers act early, exercise Adrian Beltre’s $16 million option for 2016

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Adrian Beltre’s contract includes a $16 million option for 2016 that would have vested if he reached 586 plate appearances this season, but the Rangers have decided to exercise the option early.

If healthy Beltre is a no-brainer to keep for $16 million, as he’s consistently been one of the elite third basemen in baseball for more than a decade and last season hit .324 with 19 homers and an .879 OPS in 148 games. Of course, there’s some “you never know what might happen” risk to exercising the option early, as there would be with any 36-year-old player.

As for why the Rangers did it now, general manager Jon Daniels indicated that he didn’t want the plate appearance count to become a distraction and, perhaps more importantly, there’s speculation that the two sides are working on a contract extension that would stretch beyond 2016.

Cardinals prospect Griffin Roberts suspended 50 games for a drug of abuse

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Cardinals right-handed pitching prospect Griffin Roberts has been suspended 50 games following his second positive test for a drug of abuse, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Roberts, 22, is currently ranked the Cardinals’ tenth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft and signed for a $1.66 million bonus, after which he split his first year in pro ball between the rookie-level GCL Cardinals and High-A Palm Beach Cardinals. He finished his run in 2018 with a combined seven runs, four walks, and 13 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings across the two levels, and projects as a potential major-league starter (or solid righty reliever) after touching up his fastball-slider combo and proving he can command the ball on a consistent basis.

Whether he’ll emerge from A-level ball with a more concrete idea of his future role with the team will have to wait until he’s reinstated from the restricted list. He should be eligible to rejoin the Cardinals’ minor league affiliate sometime in mid- to late-May 2019.