Extension Candidate: Elvis Andrus

3961008270121_Athletics_at_RangersThe Rangers on are the verge of winning their second American League pennant in as many years, and after the season they'll have to deal with the free agency of ace C.J. Wilson. A number of important players, like Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli, are set to earn substantial raises through arbitration, as is Elvis Andrus.

Andrus, 23, just completed his third season in the big leagues and will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. He's a defense-first shortstop but also offers some offense. He's hit just 11 homers in three years but has stolen no fewer than 32 bases each season. He makes enough contact (.272 AVG last two years) and draws enough walks (.345 OBP) to ensure he can use his speed. UZR loves his glovework, rating him the fifth best defensive shortstop since he broke into the league.

The Rangers signed Ian Kinsler, Andrus' double play partner, to a five-year contract worth $22MM before the 2008 season, but that was one year before the second baseman was eligible for arbitration. Alexei Ramirez inked a four-year, $32.5MM deal with the White Sox this past February, after his first three years in the majors. He was starting from a higher base salary ($1.1MM) than Andrus will be because of the contract he signed out of Cuba before the 2008 season. Both deals could serve as a frame of reference in any potential talks between the Rangers and Andrus.

Before the season we heard that Texas was willing to explore long-term deals with several players before the end of Spring Training, but nothing came of it. Andrus' skill set (speed and defense) is typically undervalued in arbitration, and our projections have his 2012 salary in the $2.6-3.2MM range. There's certainly no urgency to get a deal done, but the sooner the Rangers act, the more money they're likely to save.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


45 Responses to Extension Candidate: Elvis Andrus Leave a Reply

  1. John McFadin 4 years ago

    I’m not sure if they should just let him ride out arb and say see-ya when he hits free agency and bring up their other start short stop, who has more power.

    • Chewtoy123 4 years ago

      Other short stop? Who are you referring to?

      • vtadave 4 years ago

        Jurickson Profar….right now arguably a top-5 overall prospect.

        • Matt Moore 4 years ago

          Cool! We will take Andrus.
          – every GM from every other team

          • Jeff 4 years ago

            Which means he’ll be a valuable trade deadline chip in a couple years.

          • John McFadin 4 years ago

            And I will take you.  What would it take for my favorite Rangers team to pull this trade off?

  2. It’s really unfair to profile Andrus as a “defense-first shortstop.”  Andrus is a good offensive shortstop while still being a whiz with the glove.  Just because he’s an above average defensive player is no reason to sell his offense short.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      he isn’t a good offensive player. he has never even been an average one

      • You clearly don’t get it, notsureifsrs.  Andrus turned 23 during this season, an age where top draftees out of college barely reaching Double A, and this is his 3rd major league season, where he’s continued to show consistent improvement while providing above average offensive production relative to his position (along with plus defense).

        Elvis Andrus is a top 5 SS already at age 23 (if you want to get more specifc, he was 22 up until the last month of the season) with projection still to develop into an even better player.  One could argue he’s barely scratched the surface.  Andrus is already an above average SS at this stage of his career.

    • That’s true. I’ve edited the post.

  3. MadmanTX 4 years ago

    I prefer Andrus to Kinsler, so maybe history repeats itself and the Rangers could ask Andrus to switch over to 2B like they did with Young as soon as Profar is ready. If Kinsler is around at that time, then maybe he becomes trade bait. Although Kinsler and Andrus both have mental lapses playing defense, I prefer Andrus’s youth and speed.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      kinsler would bring back a good haul. he’s a much, much better player

  4. Mark Parker 4 years ago

    Will be curious to see hwo the presence of Jurickson Profar through the minors affects those plans

  5. wild05fan 4 years ago

    I don’t know how people can even consider him a great defensive shortstop when he committed something like 25-30 errors. He needs to learn how to throw the ball to 1st base before I can consider him among the best. 

    • John McFadin 4 years ago

      Looking just at errors is a terrible way to judge a player defensively.

      • MikhelB 4 years ago

        UZR is highly flawed too, even when it says it is pitcher independent, it doesn’t take into account the type of pitchers he’s playing behind (Rangers have pitchers that induce more balls to be hit toward the area Andrus patrols) and the type of defenders he’s playing alongside (third and second, if he plays along good 3Base and 2Base teammates he’ll get less chances in fielding).

        So yeah, basically he’s a shortstop who commits 25 errors a season (this year he was the leader in the AL), 60% of his errors are while fielding (15), 28% due to throw (7), and allowed 22 players to reach on errors. His double plays stats are also higher due to his second basemen starting 40 double plays (4-6-3), while the league has way lower stats, and in double plays started by him, he’s just about average, even if you compare him to last year’s Gold Glove winner (because lots of people said Andrus got robbed), Jeter, Derek took part in 700 less plate appearances than Andrus, and Jeter still had only 5 less double plays initiated by him when compared to Elvis.

        I don’t know about people but i want my shortstops to make the less possible errors while fielding, to allow the less possible people to get on base, and to initiate the most possible double plays.

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          that what was on long post, you could have just said this…

          I don’t understand UZR there for I don’t like it.. I would much rather my SS not get to balls then get to balls and make errors.

          ridiculous. you know who doesn’t make a lot of errors, derek jeter. 

          • Yankees420 4 years ago

            That’s why Jeter’s a GGer. :/

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            because he lacks range and usually makes minimal errors.. and thats what GG’s are not taken as serious achievements

          • Yankees420 4 years ago

            Oh I know, I wasn’t seriously advocating that Jeter was a good defensive SS.

  6. Amish_willy 4 years ago

    By doing what John is suggesting they would be losing out on a ton of potential value. Instead of him being a FA after 2014 with Profar ready (for example purposes), he could have another year of control for say 8m (would be 1st FA year) with a 10m option the following year. In other words the Rangers could be in a position to demand a kings ransom in trade. Or keep him and make it work with both (CF). An extension, IMO, is a no-brainer and waiting any more would be a bad play.

    Hey MLBTR, really love these pieces! I’m sure the teams themselves aren’t too crazy about having the “opinion” out there before the fact, but us fans sure get a kick out of them. I’d really enjoy ones for Mat Latos & Cameron Maybin. It’s been a month-and-a-half short of four years since the Padres have given out anything longer then a two-year deal, the 3-52m Peavy deal. I personally think it’s in the Padres best interests to get those done this off-season. In a years time Maybin will be at the point when the Dodgers were only able to get Kemp to sign a two year deal covering his first arb years. That is an extreme example in Maybin’s case, but he’ll have much more incentive to sign a team-friendly extension now versus in a years time.

    A lot of young starters have gotten extensions in the past two years. Think Latos should be one of the next. A 5 year deal paying him between 25-30m (along with 2 options) would be a possibility at this point. Wait a year and it might be 4/30m with 1 option, and that’s if they’re lucky because that would make him #1 on a contract for a pitcher with 3 years of contol, surpassing Kazmir’s guarantee, so there is no guarantee Latos wouldn’t say ‘nah’ to 4/30m and wait a year and try to get the patented 5/75m, hence the importance of signing him now. It’s a gamble, he could get hurt, but if he develops as hoped, stays healthy, not getting a deal done now would be a swift kick in the rear in a year or two’s time.

    I don’t understand how teams that can give out big free agent contracts, some even to fringe players, but are hesitant to lock up their young studs that look like evolving stars sooner. Colletti is the point in hand example in that one. Think the Kemp blunder will hurt big time, either a 150m extension that wouldn’t have been necessary at this point if he still had 2-3 more years of control, to letting Kershaw get another year to show the world how awesome he is.

    With Kemp, after he had two full years of time in the majors (after ’08) he owned a .299/.342/.474 line with 103 xbh’s and 51 sb’s. For whatever reason they didn’t get him signed at the time so they settled on giving him his two year deal the following off-season. Teams like AZ with Upton (6/51m), or Cin with Bruce (6/51), as well as Col with Gonzalez (7/80m) jumped at the opportunity while the Dodgers decided to wait. That same off-season in question for Kemp the Dodgers gave out 92m in extensions to guys like Furcal, Ramirez & Blake. Bruce and Gonzalez would have three more years of control if they were where Kemp is now service time wise, with Upton having two more years. When figures start getting exchanged with Stewart for Kemp the size of the blunder will really take size.

    The Padres can’t afford to wait like the Dodgers due to having a payroll about half the size for the time being, not that its particularly smart to do so even if you can. Neither Hoyer or Black have been around enough to realize that Maybin is the best CF they’ve had since Petco opened. The average age advantage over a chunk of the others is about 10 years. That’s a big part of it. Not that they cant see that they’ve got the perfect man manning CF out there. Would expect the contracts between Maybin and Latos to be similarly structured with Latos getting slightly more.

    • John McFadin 4 years ago

      Just saying, but I didn’t really suggest anything.  I said I wasn’t sure what the Rangers would do in that situation.  I would love to keep Elvis a little bit longer, since as you say, there is a decent chance that Profar wouldn’t even be ready by the time Andrus hit free agency.

      • Amish_willy 4 years ago

        by saying “I’m not sure if they should just let him ride out arb and say see-ya when he hits free agency” your at least planting a discussion piece. I think that would be a mistake on the Rangers part. He turns into a 5-6 win SS over these next two years the Rangers would be kicking themselve regardless of what Profar is doing, it’d be a missed opportunity. Considering he’s already a 4-win player, I’d feel confident in making the decision now.

  7. MikhelB 4 years ago

    So basically he’s “defensive only” shortstop who commits 25 errors a season (this year he was the leader in the AL), 60% of his errors are while fielding (15), 28% due to throw (7), and allowed 22 players to reach on errors.
    All that on a team with pitchers who induce more grounders and plays towards Elvis’ area, giving Andrus more plays than the average shortstop, which in turn helps his UZR even if he doesn’t have as good hands (make the most plays TOTAL, it doesn’t matter if in the proccess you make the most errors in the majors).

    His double plays stats are also higher due to his second basemen starting 40 double plays (4-6-3), while the league has way lower stats, and in double plays started by him, he’s just about average, even if you compare him to last year’s Gold Glove winner (because lots of people said Andrus got robbed), Jeter, Derek took part in 700 less plate appearances than Andrus, and Jeter still had only 5 less double plays initiated by him when compared to Elvis.

    I don’t know about people but i want my shortstops to make the less possible errors while fielding, to allow the less possible people to get on base, and to initiate the most possible double plays.

    • Amish_willy 4 years ago

      With fast/rangy shortstops you have the error factor of those kind of players reaching balls and either making a bad throw on the play or bumbling it on the transition, with errors being called a chunk of the time. With a less rangy SS it’s a hit to cf he doesn’t even come close to getting to. Considering he’s going to make some of the plays he gets, versus being sure thing hits, you live with some additional errors. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them cut down as he matures at the position.

      Now if you’ve got an error-prone SS that’s a little stiff in nature, not the kind of guys stealing 35+ bases, then your spot on about the error part.

  8. NYPOTENCE 4 years ago

    Within a couple of years Andrus should be traded. See him as a poor man’s Starlin Castro; solid regular with great D and a strained offensive game. Texas has Profar down in the farm and will probably attempt to raise Andrus’s value before trading him.

    • Amish_willy 4 years ago

      Yeah he’d be a great fit on the Yankees in about two years :) With Kinsler a FA in two years, when he’ll be 32, I’d put my money on both Profar and Andrus playing together for at least a while, and possibly several years.

      Will be interesting to see how quickly Profar moves through the system. Talent is there for that to be some time in 2013.

  9. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    this year is as close as he’s ever been to average, but he still wasn’t. wRC+ is a measure of total offensive output composed of the stats you just listed and others, and then adjusted for league and park factors and scaled to league average (100, like OPS+). his 96 in 2011 brought him all the way up to 86 for his career. well below average

    mind you, 2011 was in a down offensive environment across baseball. his .323 wOBA was just a single point higher than in 2009, when that was good for just an 86 wRC+ (instead of a 96 this year)

    i like andrus. he’s a valuable guy. but he isn’t a good offensive player

  10. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    not that you should ever use OPS+ when you have wRC+ available, but since you mentioned his OPS maybe you’ll be more receptive. league average is 100

    by year:

    2011 87
    2010 72
    2009 82
    career 80

    andrus was below average with the bat in 2011 even among shortstops, and is the 6th worst qualified shortstop in the last three years offensively. it’s possible to like his game and still be realistic about it

  11. Amish_willy 4 years ago

    With Andrus though you have to allow the fact that he just finished his age-22 season and already has three full years of time in the big leauges into the equation. I really doubt we’ve seen anywhere near the best from Andrus, in fact we’ve probably just seen the start of things. Was encouraging that he doubled his xbh putout this year in the same number of atbats as in 2010. That’s expected growth. Considering his age and the fact he’s still years from his “prime”, he’s well on his way to becoming a well above-average offensive SS in the bigs.

    Part of that is a judgment call, but that’s what a big part of these early contracts are about.

  12. Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

    He’s John McDonald on steroid (not plural), basically.

  13. vtadave 4 years ago

    Exactly.  He’s far more valuable in fantasy baseball due to the SBs…

  14. Amish_willy 4 years ago

    Speaking of OPS+, Rollins posted a 92 mark in his first full season (age 22) where as Reyes had an 81 mark at the same age in his first full season. Andrus posted a 87 mark at 22. Andrus is different in that he didn’t spend chunks of his previous two years in the minors blossoming.

    Think your underselling the upside in Andrus a good deal. Most 22 (or 21 or 20) year old shortstops would be below average when looking solely at a stat like OPS+. Now if you found a smart mans formula on projected OPS+ for a guy in Andrus position going forward we might be on to something. Jose Reyes saw his jump to 115 the following year when he was 23, for example.

  15. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    knew someone was going to do this, shift the discussion to andrus as a prospect and not as the player he currently is

    the first post in this series is “Andrus is a good offensive shortstop”. that’s the idea on the table i disagreed with and the idea LDNY tried to argue for. i haven’t said a word about his potential

  16. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    if you change the subject to “will he be a good offensive player in the future”, my responses will change too. but what we’ve been talking about — and what you specifically argued for above — is whether he is a good offensive player (he isn’t)

    fwiw, the trajectory of his first three years of offensive development is essentially flat

  17. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    you’re welcome to both of those opinions, but both of them are plainly out of synch with the facts. by the numbers, he is below average and not improving

    i like elvis andrus, but it’s not because of his bat

  18. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    you’re replying to a post that doesn’t even talk about his upside, so i don’t know how you could draw a conclusion about me underselling it

    rollins was not a good offensive for three years and then became one. it’s entirely possible for the same thing to happen to andrus, but there’s nothing in the numbers to suggest that it’s likely

  19. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    looking closer at rollins numbers, it’s really a poor comparison. nothing changed about rollins game, he didn’t become more polished due to experience in the big leagues. he didn’t refine his approach at all. he just developed more power

    so if you forecast more power from andrus, there you go then. but the kid already plays in arlington and if it happens it won’t be a function of time spent in the bigs

  20. Amish_willy 4 years ago

    A cotract extension, which is the point of this whole thread is about what Andrus WILL do versus what he has already done. Your focusing on things of the past and expecting the same to continue going forward. I, and others, understand that the best is yet to come. Yes we can agree that an 87 OPS+ season is not above average for a SS, but the fact that he’s 22 already showing that kind of upside in the majors screams POTENTIAL.

    You invest in him based on the potental. You are 150% correct in that Andrus wasn’t a superstar SS, or an above-average offensive player for the position as of yet. But going forward, and that’s the whole point (contract extensio) he’s got a strong basis to build on.

    A 22 year old SS that walks 56 times, only strikes out 74 times while stealing 37 bases has a lot of ingredients of a future superstar. He might not live up to that potential, but it’s there.

    All said an 87 OPS+ season with those above factors make for a crazy intriguing player at the position. Were talking about a top-not leadoff hitter that plays with a ton to like defensively at the most highest valued position, at a time when the position is weak in both the majors and minors.

    If you’re looking at 22 year old ballplayers at only what they are at that point, and not what they have the potential to become, your going to miss on a lot of the games next great players. He’s not there yet, but lets get back to the subject in a year or two and see if positions change. I’m sure your tune will have a much different sound when all of a sudden Andrus crosses the line into an above-average offensive player.
    Andrus has a 3.5 (B-R) and 4.5 (FG) WAR in 2011 , per fangraphs it was the 6th highest mark at the SS position with him being four years younger then the next youngest SS ranked higher. As a Padre fan I’d give up any two prospects in the system for Andrus and be quite pleased going forward. Of course I’d give him that 5+1 deal, for full disclosures sake.

    Personally I feel like your looking at Andrus from entirely the wrong direction. Which of course getting a clear picture on anything that way is quite difficult.

  21. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    “the point of this whole thread”

    no, that’s not how threads work. that’s the point of the post

    the very player you compared him to is an example of a player whose game did not change from age 22 to 32. the only thing that changed was his physical power

    if you forecast that for andrus, there you go then. but you don’t forecast that with his numbers, which do not show any progression a tall

  22. Amish_willy 4 years ago

    Sorry, post, not thread. I prefer Jose Reyes to Jimmy Rollins due to the fact Andrus is built more like Reyes, and 4″ taller then Rollins. That’s beside the point. Saying Rollins game didn’t change between 22 to 32 is silly. He did win a MVP award in between there did he not? His WAR increased from 2.6 as a 22 year old, per fangraphs (remember Andrus was 4.5! as 22 yo) to peaks that included 3 years higher then a 5.2 WAR.

    Rollins was always considered an above-average offensive SS. Do you think the average OPS+ for shortstops would = 100?

    I’m very surprised, not only at you but also myself for taking the time to reply if when you look at Andrus numbers and see no progression, or “any progression at all”. The increase in xbh’s (18 to 35), WAR (2.2 to 4.5), his 8.4 bb% / 11 k% is very impressive as well is him reducing his k’s by 20% from 2010 (Rollins as a 22 yr old: 6.7 bb%, 15 k%). Not only did Andrus increase his SB’s from 32 to 37, but he also increased his success rate from 68% to 75% in the processs. I see progression on many fronts.

  23. Amish_willy 4 years ago

    THIS JUST IN –

    Players who become big leaguers in their early 20’s may develop power as they mature!

  24. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    “Saying Rollins game didn’t change between 22 to 32 is silly”

    what is wrong with you? i just said the only thing that changed was his power. everything else — e.g. walk-rate, BA — remained the same. he didn’t progress in terms of offensive production in any respect except for power.

    shockingly, that difference turned him from a below average hitter to an above average one

    “WAR (2.2 to 4.5)”

    oh stop. honestly, that’s so disingenuous. you know very well that WAR is a total-value metric and we’re talking only about offense. his year-to-year UZR has nothing to do with it

    from andrus’ first year, the only thing he’s improved is his k-rate, which hasn’t mattered much in terms of his production

    his walk-rate has increased 1%, but his pitches per PA have decreased and he swings at pitches outside of the zone more often than he ever has

    his OBP is flat and still generated mostly by his batting average

    his power, if anything, has decreased (.106 to .082)

    despite your claim, he gets caught stealing more often than before. you’re right that his CS% improved from 2010 to 2011, but is down overall from his first year. do you understand why that matters? i bet you do and were just hoping no one would check your numbers

    here’s a player’s HR totals in his first 3 years

    y1 30
    y2 10
    y3 20

    would you say his HR power is “progressing” because he doubled his HR total in y3? no, that’s absurd. and it’s what you’re doing here with the basestealing figures

    andrus is a good player. it’s possible to like his potential and still be realistic about what he currently is. give it a try

  25. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    you just destroyed the argument i was making that andrus will never develop power. i feel so embarrassed about making that argument

    in fact i think i must have blocked it out from memory, that’s how bad the burn is. can you remind me where i said that, i want to go get in on the lols. i know you wouldn’t pretend that i said something i never actually did say just to make yourself seem more reasonable. so just go ahead and quote me

  26. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    i shouldn’t even try to explain things to people anymore. i should just post all the data and if they can’t figure out the differences on their own, welp

    A: .267/.329/.373 (.322 wOBA) .106 ISO 33 SB 85% success
    B: .279/.347/.361 (.323 wOBA) .082 ISO 37 SB 76% success

    progress!

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