ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers steals second base against Yunel Escobar #11 of the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixth inning during the American League Wild Card tiebreaker game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 30, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Reports have surfaced that the Texas Rangers are interested in trading one of their middle infield troika of Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar. So which one should they deal, and which would bring back the most return?
Cut Bait: Elvis Andrus, SS, age 25
Contract Status: Signed through 2022, can opt out after the 2018 and 2019 seasons, vesting option in 2023. Rangers still owe him $66,475,000 before his first chance to opt out after the 2018 season. If he plays out his contract, including the vesting option, he'll be owed $139,475,000 from the Rangers.
2013 Stats: 156 games, .271 batting average, .328 on-base percentage, four home runs, 67 RBIs, 91 runs, 17 doubles, four triples, league-leading 16 sacrifice hits, 42-for-50 on stolen base attempts, 14 errors
This is a tricky one. In one regard, Andrus would be the most appealing player to potential suitors because of his odd blend of youth and experience, his defensive prowess and his potential to improve as an offensive player. But, that deal... Eek. If Andrus wants, he could opt out after the 2018 season, and could do it again following the 2019 season if he wanted. After that, he's locked in until at least 2022. It's totally expected Andrus will opt out after 2018 to hit the free agent market again, but what if Andrus just completely tanks and isn't worth his contract? Then he doesn't have to opt out, and the Rangers have to pay him. That's a lot to saddle a new club with.
Do we think that's going to happen? No. Andrus is going to get better and better. People forget, he's only 25. Toward the end of the season, he started showing more power. It's long been thought he could grow into being a 10-13 home run per season guy, along with his 40-steal potential.