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Chris Davis The Trade Chip

We are currently on Beltre Watch. (Hopefully) sooner, rather than later, we will have a firm idea of how long the Rangers expect Adrian Beltre -- having probably the third best season of his career, despite not playing for a contract -- to be out with what is being ruled a hamstring strain.

It's a stinging blow, not just because Beltre has been awesome this season, but for other reasons, as Adam Morris and Joey Matschulat suggest. . .

With Chris Davis likely being activated today and taking over as the team's start third baseman, it means that Davis isn't likely to be part of a trade for a reliever before the July 31 trade deadline, which obviously hinders the team's ability to make a move.

Beyond the problem of the Rangers' slick-fielding, .276/.318/.505-hitting All-Star third baseman -- one who has posted a brilliant 3.8 wins above replacement this season -- potentially being out for an extended period of time, you're also looking at Texas likely needing to hold onto Chris Davis beyond the trade deadline so that he can play third base on an everyday basis while Beltre is out. Trade chip: Eliminated.

Those quotes from Lone Star Ball and Baseball Time in Arlington, respectively. While Adam and Joey are assuredly more intelligent than me, however, I hope the Rangers disagree with them.

The problem with dealing Davis with Beltre on the DL is, obviously, Michael Young going to third base for a while. Certainly, playing Young at third for an extended period of time would lead to a few more base hits than the pitching staff has become accustomed to, but it might also result in a little more playing time for Mike Napoli and a chance for David Murphy to find his groove (he can't really be this bad) against some right handed pitching. Those do not likely completely off-set putting Young at third, but they give the situation a potential silver lining.

Regardless, if the difference between getting an impact player -- like a Carlos Beltran -- and standing pat at the deadline is including Chris Davis in the deal (or overpaying with another prospect to keep him), then a few weeks of Michael Young at the hot corner should not stand in the way of it. Getting someone significant is more important than that. It's also not any certainty that the difference between Davis and Young at third is that huge, or any certainty that Davis is going to hit well enough to even belong in the Majors (he's tearing up AAA, but the discipline is still not there, and we've heard this story before).

Unless Beltre is going to be out for a really long time -- like potentially October -- improving the team overall is more important than the likely marginal improvement at third by playing Davis over Young.

Of course, if he somehow has turned a corner and figured out how to hit well enough to make up for a total lack of plate discipline, then all this is a moot point, anyway.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.