Texas Rangers: How Elvis Andrus’ 2018 season has been a curse and a blessing

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 03: Elvis Andrus (Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 03: Elvis Andrus (Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

A shortened 2018 season from Elvis Andrus may have cost the Texas Rangers some wins; however, it may have also solidified his return in 2019.

Among the many disappointments to the Texas Rangers’ 2018 season is the fact that Elvis Andrus will only get to play in about 100 games. The All-Star shortstop and career-long Ranger missed over two months with a broken elbow suffered on April 11th. By the time he returned, the season had for the most part been lost. He has turned it on as of late, but there is no doubt this season will be considered an anticlimactic one from Andrus’ perspective.

From an organizational perspective, however, the Andrus injury may not be so unfortunate. Injury is never wished upon anyone, especially a class act such as Elvis Andrus. With that said, the Rangers may very well benefit from a shortened season from the 30-year-old.

How so?

Andrus can opt out of his 8-year/$120 million contract after this season and become a free agent. He has not signaled any departure. As a matter of fact, he expressed prior to this season that he had no plans of leaving the Rangers, even stating that he wants to retire with Texas. Hopefully his feelings have not changed.

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ARLINGTON, TX – JULY 04: Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 4, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Elvis Andrus is certainly talented enough, and still young enough to earn a contract with a higher base salary than $15 million (what he currently makes). The question looms…is he willing to test that theory by opting out and becoming a free agent?

Had he not gotten injured and had he posted numbers similar to last years’, the demand for Andrus would likely be considerable. But that is not the reality. In reality, Andrus has played in 78 games as of September 5th and is hitting .272 with six home runs.

He would still certainly gain interest if a free agent, but would interest result in a team paying him over $15 million a year? Would he like playing for that team more than the Texas Rangers? Would he go to a contender? These are the questions and risks he’ll have to ponder prior to making the decision on whether or not to opt out.

Players with the option to hit free agency will definitely be more tentative after seeing what happened to Mike Moustakas last offseason. Moustakas did not choose to be a free agent; his contract just so happened to be up with the Kansas City Royals. But, that’s not the point.

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Moustakas had finished up a career year in which he hit 38 home runs and slugged .521. He also posted a respectable .272 batting average. Yet, he was completely neglected on the free agent market.

In the end, the man who put up those impressive 2017 numbers ended up re-signing with the Royals on a measly 1-year/$6.5 million contract. The reason behind Moustakas’ abandonment is unknown. Perhaps no team needed a third baseman, or perhaps teams felt he was a one hit wonder. Regardless, the slugger ended up making way less than his value.

Elvis Andrus could endure a similar outcome. Or, maybe he couldn’t.

If Andrus were to opt out then there would be no guarantee that the Texas Rangers would try to re-sign him. Andrus knows the kind of offensive and defensive depth that his current team has. He knows the Rangers would hate to lose him, but also that Jurickson Profar or Isiah Kiner-Falefa would be around to take his spot.

That just about covers the Elvis Andrus dilemma. Frankly, I probably just detailed a scenario that probably won’t come to fruition. Andrus loves his teammates and he loves the organization. While I don’t have him saying that on record, he’s made it pretty obvious through his joy on and off the field over the past many years.

Andrus will likely return next season under his same contract. If anything, GM Jon Daniels will try to restructure his contract prior to the 2019 season. Under Andrus’ current contract, he also has an opt out option post-2019.

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With Elvis Andrus missing a full two months of the season, the Rangers may have saved themselves a sweat this offseason. Andrus won’t have the momentum to feel comfortable with opting out of his Rangers’ contract.