Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Is Elvis Andrus just an overpaid utility guy?


“Rangers and Elvis Andrus ‘close’ to 8-year deal worth $120M, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.”

About 15 months ago, I wrote in another blog about the “best push alert” I have ever received.  I was excited and jumping for joy, even though the alert woke me up at midnight.  (and on a school night no less!) The first line of this post?  Well that was the magical push alert that I was so very excited about.

Fast forward to today and I’m not so sure anymore.  I mean…maybe I should have just slept through it.

I remember when that new contract was first confirmed, I found myself defending it to countless baseball fans.  Not usually to Rangers fans, because most of us liked Elvis, but to non-Rangers, baseball fans.

“Is a .270 hitter worth that much money?”

“Why would you pay a guy with NO power?”

My answer was always the same “but the defense!” and “the base stealing!”…oh and “he’s perfect for Wash ball!”

At the time I felt pretty confident in those responses.  And I might still.  I haven’t decided.

The truth is that thus far in 2014, Elvis Andrus is a .262 hitter with no power (2 home runs) – not too different from his usual – except this year, as of July 3rd, he has made 10 fielding errors and many more questionable fielding plays that aren’t denoted in the box score.  He’s also been caught stealing in almost 30% of his attempts.

Someone said to me that those are utility guy numbers.  I said, no they’re not.  Utility guys make routine plays.  D’oh!

Initially, I was also going to add in that Elvis’ Range Factor Per 9 Innings (Put Outs + Assists/Innings Played) has been on a steady decline as well, but let’s not.  I don’t like that stat very much because it doesn’t really take into account the number of opportunities that the defensive player has.  And with the Rangers pitching staff this year…there have been too many balls flying out of the park, and not nearly enough squibbed on the ground.  I’m also not a huge trumpeter of fielding percentage because it just doesn’t give you an idea of a guy’s range or penchant for the spectacular play.

Elvis has always made more errors than I’d like, but it’s usually doing something like throwing a ball he should have held after a crazy play; one that involved diving and spinning.  Does that add to his error total?  Yup, usually, in the cases that the runner advances on his crazy throw.  Would that have happened had he had less range?  Probably not.  But, I’ll take the range, thanks.

This year though, things are different.  Sometimes he’s not making routine plays, and many times NOT making those plays has costed the team runs.  (I know you were watching that game vs. the Orioles the other night)

The thing that’s compounding just how bad that is, is that your Texas Rangers just aren’t very good this year.  Giving away any runs at all, feels like the end of the world because we’re just not sure our team can score again to make up what we lost.  And if we’re giving the bad guys more chances, then we’re doomed, because how often do we have a lead?  Come-from-behind wins feel almost impossible this year.

So, I’m ready to trade Elvis and move on, right?

FALSE.

I like Elvis.  I like that he plays like he’s always wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up.  Does that catch the ball and steal a base?  No.  But there’s something to be said about a good attitude.

I do think though, that Elvis is missing a little leadership right now.  With no more Kins or MY to jump on his case, maybe he’s floundering a little.  This is his 6th year in the Big Leagues, but he’s still only 25.  That excuse is about to expire, but, I’m gonna give him a little leeway.

Hang in there, Rangers fans.  We have four days off July 14 – 17.  That didn’t help, did it?  Sigh…

84 down, 78 to go.

Your Texas Rangers are 37-47.  Blah.

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Tags: Elvis Andrus

  • lmhw24

    Admittedly, Andrus didn’t prepare in the offseason, so he’s still in “getting ready” mode. He’s missing leadership, but I feel that most of all, he’s missing his best friend on the team: Ian Kinsler. He has fun w/Beltre of course, but when you’re vacationing in Hawaii with your best friend (Kinsler) only to find out you’re not going to be on the same team in the upcoming season that has to have an impact on him. Good or bad.

    • Jenny Federici

      While I agree, @lmhw24:disqus …baseball is still his job. If your best friend gets a new job, you still have to do your work. These guys are getting paid bagillions to do so. Step it up, Elvis!

      • lmhw24

        I agree with that too! I was just adding it all up. I wasn’t very clear about that. I’m wondering if Kinsler’s trade made Andrus unmotivated in the offseason. For some reason I can picture him sitting at home w/a gallon of Blue Bell and spoon watching “Andrus and Kinsler highlights over the years.” :-)

  • Lee Stitzel

    Andurs is a lot better than a utility guy. He is a top flight short stop, he just isn’t a great hitter. Check his WAR.

    • Jenny Federici

      Tongue in cheek title, Lee, obviously. But either way, the argument isn’t whether or not he’s a good defensive shortstop. It’s whether or not he’s worth that contract.

      • Lee Stitzel

        It is a nicely chosen title, it definitely made me want to read the piece. That may not being saying much because it is easy to get me to read Rangers related articles.

        You say it is a tongue in cheek title and I appreciate that but sadly sometimes Elvis really makes a fan wonder. He plays defense, he doesn’t hit much and goes through base stealing droughts (sometimes because he can’t get on base) all of which makes you wonder how valuable he really is. After reading your article I could tell you meant the title to be rhetorical because you didn’t deal with the title question directly. Personally I think the question is valid but the answer is no.

        • Jenny Federici

          You are def right on that. He’s making a lot of fans wonder. I like him. He’s a good player. I just wish he was justifying his salary right now. And I know every Rangers fan would agree with that!