Let's go ahead and get this out of the way: Elvis Andrus, along with Adrian Beltre, is the heart and soul of the Texas Rangers, but there's a big difference between them — nine years.
There's no doubt that Andrus, 24, is one of those guys you can classify as a "franchise player", something not every team in baseball has, while some have more than one.
Andrus is set to be a free agent following the 2014 season and he's a Scott Boras client, which means he's not too likely to take an extension before hitting free agency, and he's likely to go to the highest bidder at that point. Add to that the fact that the Rangers have the top prospect in baseball, Jurickson Profar, who just so happens to be a shortstop. See where we're going here?
To put on the record, it'd be very hard to trade Andrus, but it's something to think about, and there's been plenty of talk this hot stove season about dealing the young shortstop. But here's the deal, if the Rangers do decide to trade Andrus, they better get their money's worth in return, and we're not talking Justin Upton, Joe Mauer or anyone else like that.
We're talking front-of-the-rotation, top-notch starting pitchers, in particular, two guys.
David Price or Felix Hernandez. There you go, that's the list of guys to deal for Andrus.
Both are young, controllable for multiple seasons and are possibly the two best starting pitchers in the game. Of course, they wouldn't be coming for Andrus straight up. To get either of those guys, whose teams both say they aren't available, it would take Andrus and a pretty significant package of other players and prospects.
They're both decidedly better than the top pitching free agent this year (Zack Greinke) and are both horses that you can count on to get a win every fifth day.
Price, 27, is eligible for arbitration but isn't a free agent until 2016. Hernandez, 26, is under control for two more seasons at a higher price than Price ($39.5 million over the next two seasons). But he'd be worth every penny.
Price would be the ultimate goal for the Rangers to get, and heck, he'd probably love coming here since the Rangers seem to be the one team that can hit him consistently. In fact, the Rangers' .274 team average against Price is the highest of any AL team. Can't beat 'em, why not join 'em, right?