Justin Maxwell #44 of the Houston Astros slides safely into second base as Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers applies the tag late at Minute Maid Park on May 19, 2012 in Houston, Texas.
There's no doubt that Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is one of the hot rising stars in all of baseball. Just 24 years old, the all-star shortstop is already a four-year big-league veteran and is coming off career-highs in just about every offensive category, including batting average, on-base percentage and RBIs.
As young as he is, Andrus is set to become a free agent following the 2014 season, and this week Rangers GM Jon Daniels made a confession: It's not going to be easy to re-sign the superstar, who has become one of the faces of the Rangers' franchise.
"We probably do have to anticipate that he's going to be a challenging guy for us to sign," Daniels told The Dallas Morning News. "But we haven't given up on that yet. And I think that's kind of where we are. I don't know exactly how it's going to play out. But we're not going to -- we love the way Elvis fits on the club right now."
The biggest snag in this plan is that Andrus' agent happens to be the guy affectionately known as the "baseball antichrist", Scott Boras. His clients always get top-dollar and his clients rarely re-sign with their original clubs, going instead for the bigger deal.
There have been a few exceptions, most recently Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver, who took a ridiculously cheap deal for his talents, because he is a SoCal guy through and through and wanted to remain there.
So why not entertain a trade for Andrus now? Andrus was apparently untouchable throughout the winter, along with prospect Jurickson Profar, who happens to play Andrus' position and is under club control until 2019. Ian Kinsler? 2018. There's your middle infield of the future, unless you plan on moving Kinsler to the outfield and letting Profar play second.
Why not headline a package with Andrus and send him to Tampa Bay, where he could be paired with another great, young infielder in Evan Longoria and get back David Price in the deal to give yourself a bona fide ace -- the first one the Rangers would have had since Cliff Lee for that glorious four months. Yu Darvish is great and has all kinds of potential, but he's not David Price.
What do you think? Would you part with Andrus now, when his value is sky-high, knowing it might be impossible to extend him before he hits free agency and you lose him for nothing?