This season Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus will start earning a lot more due to the contract extension he signed back in 2013. Back then, the Rangers signed him to a huge eight-year $120 million contract to lock up the middle infield with then fellow teammate Ian Kinsler. Andrus was very excited at the time and said he was determined to win a World Series with the Texas Rangers.
"“I want to keep going out there and trying to get a ring,” Andrus said. “I want to keep my focus. You want security for your life, for your family.“My main goal is to win a championship.” – (ESPN-Dallas Todd Willis)"
If it wasn’t for the contract extension Andrus would have been a free agent after the 2014 season. Right now, the contract the Rangers gave him doesn’t look like a very good deal at all. Andrus had a rough season last year. He seemed to mainly struggle just during the first half of the season.
The fans were not the only ones that could see that Elvis Andrus wasn’t playing very well. Manager Ron Washington also took notice of his performance or lack of it.
"“He plays with energy,” Washington said. “That’s a big part of his game. He hasn’t had that same energy lately. That’s all I want to see again. That’s contagious. He was so involved with not being successful, I don’t know if he even realized it. He thought he was just being Elvis.” (Dallas News – Evan Grant)"
Besides his weak offense, Andrus also struggled in the field. There were several plays he missed that you would think you’d only see in little league. There was one game where the ball basically went between his legs.
I think the main reason Andrus struggled last season was because he wasn’t ready for the season. In the past, Andrus has spent the offseason playing in the Dominican Winter League to keep up and improve his craft. But, during the offseason prior to the 2014 season he basically took the time off for himself and admittedly barely picked up a baseball.
"“I was resting a lot,” Andrus said. “That was my main thing. This is really the first time this has happened. But I’ll learn from my mistake and work my arm more.” (Dallas News – Evan Grant)"
In my opinion, I think it took Andrus until around the All-Star break to finally start playing well, but he still wasn’t playing his best baseball. He especially wasn’t playing like a player who was about to start making $15 million a season. And it’s hard to imagine that at one time the New York Yankees had him on their radar to replace Derek Jeter.
Elvis did manage to eventually start hitting and finished the season with a batting line of .263/.314/.333/.647 with 35 doubles, 2 home runs, 41 RBI, 27 stolen bases, and a league-leading 15 times caught stealing. That’s a pretty big step down compared to what he did in 2013 when he hit .271/.328/.331/.659 with 17 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs, 42 stolen bases, 67 RBI and only 8 times caught stealing. Also, looking at his WAR (Wins above replacement) he took a huge dip from 4.3 to 1.0 in 2014. That clearly shows that Andrus overall performance in 2014 wasn’t anywhere near what the Rangers needed or expected.
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Now that Andrus is getting a huge pay raise the main question seems to be will he live up to his new contract. Last season Andrus made around $6.5 million, which was the most he had made in his career. Now he’ll be making about $15 million a season on his new contract.
So what will happen this season…will Elvis Andrus live up to his new contract? I think that Andrus is a great player and last season was just a bad year for him. He didn’t expect that resting a bit in the offseason would hurt as much as it did. Now that is behind him he has been able to learn from his mistakes. I think he has been taking this offseason very serious and has been working very hard to prepare for the 2015 season. There have been several reports of him working out at the ballpark and interviews with him saying his doing this differently this season.
In my opinion I think Elvis Andrus might have the best season of his career. He’s doing everything he can to get ready for the season and has a ton of talent. I think you’ll see him playing very well early in spring training and will show more arm strength than he did last season. That will help a lot because he won’t get injured like he did last season during spring training. If he is able to perform like I think he can that will go a long way to help the Texas Rangers win the division and make a good run towards another World Series appearance. If Andrus truly wants to win a series with the Rangers, this is the year to prove it. Maybe with his new manager Jeff Banister he’ll embrace his motto…Never Ever Quit.