When anyone thinks of Texas Rangers shortstops one of the first players that comes to mind is Elvis Andrus. Could 2018 be his last in Arlington, or will Andrus play out his career with Texas?
The Texas Rangers signed Elvis Andrus to an eight-year $118 million deal in 2015. The 29-year-old shortstop has played nine seasons in Arlington, but does have an opt out clause in his contract after the 2018 season.
The beloved shortstop had a career year with the Rangers last season. Andrus hit .297 with a career-high 20 home runs and 88 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in 158 games. He had never hit more than eight homers in a season heading into 2017.
The two-time All-Star finished with a career-high 4.7 WAR last season. He somehow didn’t make the All-Star team in 2017, but Rangers fans know he was well deserving of it. Could is sudden surge of power cause him to leave for free agency next winter?
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His current contract expires after the 2023 season. Andrus is making $14 or $15 million each season for the rest of the deal, which is surprisingly low for his production. If Andrus can post another strong season in 2018, he should be able to easily obtain more money in free agency.
The problem for Andrus is, he’s 30 years old and won’t be the best shortstop on the open market. Baltimore Orioles slugger Manny Machado will hit free agency next winter, and has expressed he wants to move to shortstop.
Machado is a younger and better player than Andrus, and most organizations would rather have him long-term. Most competitive organizations already would they consider “franchise” shortstop, which could also hurt Andrus’ chances if he heads to free agency.
There would likely only be a handful of teams interested in Andrus, including Texas. It would be surprising to see almost any organization throw a five-year $20 million offer at Andrus. He’s a solid player, but many teams already have younger and cheaper players at that position.
The 2018 off-season is a long time from now, but it’s always smart to think ahead. It’s highly unlikely Andrus leaves unless, the Rangers do decide to rebuild in 2018. Andrus enjoys playing in Arlington, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him finish his career there.