It’s only been two or three weeks since I wondered whether the Detroit Tigers would pursue a trade involving Texas Rangers’ shortstop Elvis Andrus next offseason (possibly for a package including Rick Porcello), but already that scenario has been pulled from the table.
Andrus and the Rangers agreed on an eight year, $120 million extension yesterday that puts the young shortstop under contract with Texas through the 2022 season. He was already under team control for these next two seasons at a total of $11 million, so he’ll be getting $131 million guaranteed over the next ten years. Must be nice.
It’s still possible that the Rangers look to move Andrus in the future (unless the new contract includes a no-trade clause) with prospect Jurickson Profar pushing for playing time, but an extension of this magnitude signals that they’re more than just mildly interested in hanging onto both players for the foreseeable future. They were already going to have to figure out alternatives – as Andrus, Profar, and second baseman Ian Kinsler – were all under team control through the expiration of Andrus’ previous in 2014 (with Kinsler and Profar beyond that), so this deal doesn’t so much force a creative solution as extending the need for one.
Perhaps that means Kinsler is moved to first base, left field, or traded in the next year or so. Maybe that means Detroit, who could use a second baseman next season, makes a run at a Kinsler trade, but he’s at the “wrong” spot on the age curve and would be guaranteed $62 million over the next four years (with a club option for $5 million for a fifth). He could very well end up being worth that money, but the Tigers would be buying in for the decline years, which is always a risky proposition.