Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Last year I went on the record advocating the trade of Elvis Andrus. This offseason has started with far more chatter about the Texas Rangers trading Elvis than there was at any point last offseason. The Yankees are apparently sniffing around and it seems the Dodgers may have had discussions with the Rangers already. This could finally be the year that the Rangers trade Elvis Andrus.
This time around, I would advise the Rangers to hold onto Elvis Andrus. The Rangers’ best option behind Andrus is the injured Jurickson Profar.
If the team wants to compete in 2015 then Andrus needs to be kept. It seems that the front office has decided not go into a complete rebuild based on their actions at the trade deadline. If that is the case then this team needs Andrus in order to be contenders in 2015. Profar is not going to make the team out of spring training at this rate of recovery and, while Luis Sardinas has some potential to be a decent shortstop, perhaps similar to Andrus, in the near future, it is unlikely that he will anything more than replacement level in 2015. Andurs is starting caliber shortstop, nothing more nothing less. Andrus’s WAR last year was 1.3, which is good for only 16th of 22 qualified shortstops.
Trading Andrus is not going to land this team a major piece. Trading Andrus could acquire a player like Carl Crawford or Andre Either. Good players to be sure but not the kind of game changer a package of prospects could help acquire.
This team needs a corner outfielder and a middle of the rotation starting pitcher. Even with Joey Gallo and Jorge Alfaro off the trading block this organization has the prospect depth to complete a trade for a big time pitcher or outfielder. One particular target is Justin Upton. This comes as no surprise since the Rangers have been targeting Upton for years, all the way back to his time in Arizona.
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Andrus’s trade value is not particularly high between his mediocre play and his large contract. Were Andrus playing on a team friendly contract he would be viewed very differently and could be used to land a big piece like Upton. If the team wants a player like Upton they will need to give up good prospects and middle infielders carry a lot of value. With Andrus penciled in at shortstop for the foreseeable future the Rangers are free to trade some of their better prospects like Sardinas and Profar.
Trading a player like Profar makes a lot of sense for this organization. Leaving Andrus at short while players like Yeyson Yrizarri, Ti’Quan Forbes, and Michael De Leon develop makes for a tidy timeline. I do not put any stock into the “blocked” argument, if Profar outplays Odor or even Andrus, then he should get the playing time. That being said, there is room for the Rangers to deal a former number one prospect for a big time bat or starting pitcher if they keep Andrus right where he is and allow some younger prospects to develop.
Keeping Andrus and using the team’s middle infield depth to land a player like Upton could make for a very formidable Texas team in 2015.