Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier this week I postulated that Elvis Andrus should be traded away. I made the case from the Texas Rangers point of view. The argument basically boiled down to one point, Andrus is expendable. The Texas Rangers have many internal options to replace Andrus and should trade him to restock the minors.
So to whom can the Texas Rangers trade Elvis Andrus?
Two playoff teams stand out. One is Detroit and the other is Seattle. Detroit was a great match for Elvis earlier in the year and they still might end up being a match but currently Eugenio Suarez is playing well for them. He is hitting and defending at a high level right now. I doubt they want to bring in Elvis for the stretch run until they have a better idea what Suarez is going to be in the long run.
Jon Daniels has shown he is willing to trade within division and Seattle’s shortstops have underperformed on a team that is very close to being a contender. Seattle needs a power right handed bat more than they need a shortstop and they may not want to give up on Brad Miller and Nick Franklin just yet. If Seattle lands a power hitter and still wants to improve their team then Jack Zduriencik may call the Rangers and Jon Daniels next. Seattle certainly has the pieces to interest Texas and the payroll room to afford Andrus.
Other fringe playoff teams include the Pirates and Yankees. The Pirates could be a real option because Jordy Mercer is a replacement level player. His WAR is 0.2. Andrus’s WAR is 1.4. Improving at short would help the Pirates immensely. The Pirates are similar to the Mariners in that they likely need a power bat before a shortstop but the Pirates have less cap room and fewer good prospects. If they decide the price is too high for a power bat then perhaps Andrus is a cheaper way to upgrade.
The Yankees are an intriguing thought because Jeter is officially over the hill (80 wRC+). They probably won’t replace Jeter this year even though they should, so that means a deal for Andrus isn’t likely this year. Additionally, they are favorites to land a big shortstop name like Troy Tulowitzki over the winter so they wouldn’t need Andrus long term in that situation. If Troy decides to sign an extension with Colorado (or some other team decides to outbid New York, which is hard to see but possible) then Andrus is likely to top the Yankee’s list. Of course, the Yankees may not have the pieces to land Andrus but they would be one of the few teams willing to take all or most of his contract. If the Rangers wanted more a contract dump than a bundle of prospects then New York makes sense. This is not all that far-fetched because the Rangers may want to chase some big name pitchers over the break and the money currently devoted to Andrus’s salary could come in handy. All in all, Andrus to New York would only happen if all the chips fell into place.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Of course because Andrus’s contract is so long it doesn’t have to be a team that is in immediate contention or have an immediate need at shortstop. I would throw out teams like the Marlins, Red Sox, Mets and Phillies as potential trade partners. The Marlins are in a strange place because they have been competitive most of the season. They are starting to fade now but if they think they can compete next year once Jose Fernandez comes back then getting Andrus could make a lot of sense. If they think this year was an aberration and they need more time to build up for a run in a tough division then Andrus makes less sense.
The Red Sox could be a good spot for Andrus if the Sox do not figure out a long term contract with Stephen Drew. The Sox are down in 2014 but they seem like a team that will be a serious contender in 2015, especially if they bring back players like Jon Lester.
The New York Mets could be a perfect match. Their shortstop situation is a disaster at the major league level and their minor league prospects are at least a few years away from the show. They have good pitching prospects in which Texas is always interested.
It might a stretch for several reasons but the Philadelphia Phillies could use a long term shortstop. Jimmy Rollins is in the twilight of his career so the Phillies will need a replacement at some point. Their system is depleted so they may not have an internal option. This scenario has two problems. The first is that Rollins wants to stay in Philly as long as he can and is likely to block any trades. The second is that Phillies need a full rebuild. They are not going to be a contender for some time. It is time for them to blow it up and build from the ground up. Ruben Amaro seems to be reluctant to give up on this collection of older talent so perhaps Jon Daniels can unload Andrus on the Phillies and pick up a decent prospect in return.
The market for a high contract, light hitting shortstop does not look strong but if Jon Daniels wants to make Andrus available it is hard to imagine that he will not draw interest.