The debate as to what the Texas Rangers wanted to do regarding their crowded infield was settled in the wee hours of Monday morning when the team signed shortstop Elvis Andrus to an eight-year, $120 million contract extension. At least that’s when the rest of the world found out. The deal wasn’t negotiated during that time because the Rangers were busy getting thumped by the Houston Astros, 8-2 on Opening Day. Still, it was a great move by the Rangers to lock up Andrus for the foreseeable future and it sheds a little light on the club’s plans for the next several years.
Andrus is only 24 years old, so the length of the deal is actually ideal, even though he was already under contract through 2014, so his contract now expands across an entire decade. Of course, the fact he went 0-4 in the Rangers’ loss to the Astros on Sunday will have many snickering at the new deal, but it’s a great move by Texas, especially after all the Nolan Ryan drama this offseason.
Andrus’ new contract means the team won’t be trading him, as was expected pretty much all offseason with the emergence of top MLB prospect Jurickson Profar. Of course, now trade speculation regarding the latter player will be crazier than ever until a decision is made regarding his future. Profar has started the season at Triple-A Round Rock so at 20 years old, his future is still at least a year away.
There are reports that Andrus’ new deal includes an opt-out clause, so that’s somewhat of a wild card in all of this. However, the Rangers obviously won’t be benching or abusing a player that’s owed an average of $13 million over the next 10 years, so Profar’s potential is no longer a threat to Andrus.
Texas now has the option to keep Profar in the minors as long as it likes and possibly move him to the big leagues at second or third base, depending on the contract situations of Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler over the next few years. There’s new speculation the team might move the 30-year-old Kinsler to first base as early as 2014 and start Profar at second. Either way, the team has a ton of options with a stacked infield and Andrus’ new deal means that won’t change anytime soon.