KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 06: Ian Kinsler #5 and Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers celebrate after the Rangers defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-4 to win the game at Kauffman Stadium on September 6, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Elvis Andrus has reportedly passed a physical, which further gives evidence to the heavy, heavy rumor that he has agreed to sign a long-term extension — something that's been reported everywhere (first by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal) but has yet to be officially announced by the club. So it wasn't a wicked April Fools joke, after all. Andrus is under club control through 2018 at the earliest when he'll reportedly be able to opt out of his deal if he so desires. If he plays out the contract, he'll be a Ranger until 2022.
So what's this deal mean for the Rangers, who had basically resigned themselves to the idea of trading Andrus this winter if they weren't successful in their last-ditch effort to extend their young star shortstop? Well, it's great news as they now have one of the game's best shortstops for a long time, but the deal has ramifications elsewhere in the organization, as well.
WIth Jurickson Profar sitting down in Triple-A playing every day while the front office reportedly says he's ready to be in the bigs right now — no surprise to anyone that has followed his quick ascent, and Ian Kinsler being locked up long-term last season and deciding not to move from second base this winter, there's a logjam for the foreseeable future in the middle infield. So where do the Rangers go from here?
Option A: Trade Profar — This move would make the most sense, but it's also very unlikely. Profar is the top prospect in all of baseball and the Rangers, behind closed doors, have to be clamoring to get Profar and Andrus on the field together for a long time with Profar at second base and Andrus at shortstop. However, if if the Rangers dealt Profar, it would be for a huge package in return. Think along the lines of someone like Tampa Bay pitcher David Price or Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
Option B: Trade Kinsler — Kinsler, himself, signed an extension through 2017 at this time last year and then went on to have his worst year as a full-time big-leaguer, putting up career lows (when playing a full season) in on-base percentage, stolen bases and home runs. So the value is probably at an all-time low for a guy who, despite what you might think, is still a very good player, especially at a valued position like second base. The Rangers approached Kinsler about moving to the outfield or first base this season to accommodate Profar's rise to the bigs and Kinsler initially agreed before changing his mind.
Option C: Move Kinsler — The Rangers have big plans for Mitch Moreland this year, which is the same thing they've said about Moreland the past two seasons. This is probably Moreland's last chance to show he can be an everyday first baseman. if he fails, there's a great chance Kinsler could move to first base. Kinsler could also move to a corner outfield spot and be an in-house replacement for Nelson Cruz, who will likely not be brought back in 2014.
Option D: Trade Andrus — This is just thinking out loud, but does this move totally eliminiate the possibility Andrus is dealt? It wouldn't be this season, or even this offseason, but who's to say he coudln't be dealt down the road? He's still yet to reach his prime and he could bring even more back in a trade now than he could have this winter with more club control. Still, this is extremely unlikely due to the fact that the Rangers really, really want to see an Andrus/Profar double-play combination for years to come.
So there you go, folks. What do you think will happen? The good thing this move does for the Rangers is that it takes away some of the urgency of making a decision on Profar's future, and it locks up one of the game's best young players for at least four more seasons.