Mavericks beat Golden State
It absolutely makes sense for the Texas Rangers to trade All-Star shortstop Elvis Andrus while he still has two years left on his contract. But the Rangers have forfeited so much of their "benefit of the doubt" capital this offseason, trading Andrus is no longer a viable option.
There are players who will report to spring training in Surprise, Ariz., who are still upset Michael Young was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies this offseason. Trading a popular player in the clubhouse such as Andrus would add insult to injury. Rangers GM Jon Daniels isn't afraid to make an unpopular decision in the best interest of the organization, but he knows you can't completely alienate a fan base that surpassed the 3-million mark in attendance for the first time in franchise history last season.
Justin Upton would likely be in a Rangers uniform had the organization been willing to part ways with Andrus. But it's obvious that Daniels and his staff weren't completely sold on the outfielder, who is now with the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately, though, this "keep the powder dry" approach is a tough sell locally. That's the approach that has taken the Mavs from an NBA title to a potential lottery team in less than two years.
Andrus is a Scott Boras client, and as you already know, he's an agent that doesn't believe in hometown discounts. Sure, there have been some notable exceptions with Angels ace Jered Weaver and Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez. But Andrus isn't showing signs that he'd be willing to forgo testing the free-agent market. Boras would likely be looking for something in the $18-$20 million per year range, and the Rangers aren't going near there. Part of that has to do with the presence of top prospect Jurickson Profar. There are some within the Rangers organization who believe Profar could step in immediately and put up similar numbers to Andrus. He wouldn't be as polished in the field, but he might have the capacity to produce more runs at the plate.
Earlier this week, Andrus joined "The Ben & Skin Show" on ESPN 103.3 to discuss his future. He certainly didn't sound like a player who was dying to provide a hometown discount.
"I think everybody has to be on the same page to get there," Andrus said. "I'm happy. I've still got two more years on my contract, and then we'll see what happens. We're still talking about it. That’s all I can say. For sure, I would love to stay here. Hopefully, I can stay here for a long time."
Privately, the Rangers are resigned to the fact that Andrus will leave in free agency. He has the type of make-up as a player that could handle replacing Derek Jeter with the New York Yankees. And if the Dodgers or Angels want to continue throwing caution to the wind, I could see him flourishing on the West Coast. Maybe a team will desperately need a shortstop at the trade deadline next July, but obviously the Rangers hope to be buyers at that point.
For the Rangers to have any hope of signing Andrus, he'll have to stand up to Boras. That’s not something most players end up doing. And understandably, Andrus believes he has a chance to be the highest-paid shortstop in the game. The most likely scenario is that he’ll play out his contract with the Rangers and then test free agency at the ripe old age of 26.
If the Ranger pull off a miracle and sign him to an extension, they would feel a lot better about trading Profar for a top-flight starting pitcher, such as David Price. But for now, they’d like to see Profar hang around spring training the whole time and try to nail down a spot on the big-league roster.
That would be the most sensible thing for Profar, but he’s apparently waffling. It’s just another chapter in this agonizing offseason.