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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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