Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus gives credit to Baltimore Orioles pitchers for shutting the offense down at a critical part of the season (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com
Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus gives credit to Baltimore Orioles pitchers for shutting the offense down at a critical part of the season (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com

Texas Rangers

Andrus’ choices: Opt out, become a Rangers great, or both

August 14, 2017 10:46 PM

ARLINGTON

A weekly must-read for the baseball fan is 10 Degrees by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, who, when he’s not making Doug Gottlieb look foolish for his hot take on Adrian Beltre, puts a thoughtful spin on the goings-on in major league baseball.

Making the 10 cut Monday was Elvis Andrus, who, Passan says, barring a collapse the rest of this season and next, is certain to exercise the opt-out clause on the contract he signed with the Texas Rangers in 2013.

The way Andrus produced last season and especially so far this season has made him an attractive option at shortstop for teams, and a new deal would come with a raise from $14.5 million average salary he’s due in the final four seasons of his current deal.

The thought has occurred to the local scribes, too.

And just think: Two years ago the contract was handcuffing the Rangers financially and preventing them from installing Jurickson Profar as the full-time shortstop. Now, the Rangers can’t afford to not have Andrus.

He’s not their best player, a title that belongs to Beltre, but he’s probably second-best. The eight-year, $118 million contract that made it look like he was robbing the Rangers blind is starting to look like a bargain.

His decision, though, might not be all about dollars. Andrus has a chance to spend his entire career with the Rangers and potentially make a similar impact on the franchise to the one that Michael Young did.

Or maybe Andrus can have both.

“I’m thinking about this year,” Andrus said Monday before the Rangers opened a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers. “Whatever happens next year or after, we’ll figure it out. I really have no time to think about it.”

Andrus scored a first-inning run Monday as the Rangers beat the Tigers 6-2. Joey Gallo homered, and Martin Perez pitched five scoreless innings after allowing a two-run homer to Justin Upton in the first.

The run Andrus scored was the team-leading 71st of the season, and he continues to threaten .300 for the second straight season with a .295 average. His .477 slugging percentage entering Monday, thanks to 33 doubles and a career-high 15 home runs, ranked fourth among MLB shortstops.

Passan believes that kind of player can land a deal worth $20 million a year, though many of the teams that can afford such a player are already set at shortstop.

Andrus’ top suitor might end up being the Rangers, who love to draft shortstops and could still have Profar in the organization for the 2019 season.

But no one is disputing how far Andrus has come the past two seasons.

“The No. 1 part of the improvement has been the focus, the attention to showing up every single pitch, being prepared on every single pitch defensively,” manager Jeff Banister said. “That is a priority for him. Offensively, he has proven that the power potential is there. He’s allowing that to show up. The decision-making in the batter’s box has been really good.”

Andrus has 1,402 career hits and 719 runs with 45 games remaining in his ninth season. The club records for hits and runs are held by Young with 2,230 and 1,085 from 2000 to 2012.

Young, one of Andrus’ mentors, also holds the club marks for games (1,823), doubles (415), triples (55) and total bases (3,286). Andrus can overtake Young in all of them if he plays to the end of this contract in 2023.

Andrus will be 35 at the end of the 2023 season. One of the most durable players in baseball might have a few more years left in his legs. When he’s done playing, he’s sure to become a member of the Rangers Hall of Fame, joining Young, among others.

The idea of being an all-time franchise great appeals to Andrus.

“Who doesn’t want to be Michael Young?” Andrus said. “I think the answer is obvious. I don’t really think about it. I just want to get better every year and then see what happens.”

The decision after the 2018 season, and again after 2019 with a second-opt clause, ultimately belongs to him. Opt out or ensure that he stays in Texas, where he has a home, has started a family and could finish his career with plenty of money in the bank.

Maybe he can have both.

“If I can decide, I want to finish my whole career here,” said Andrus, who is represented by Scott Boras. “That’s the ultimate goal for every player, including myself. Hopefully we can make it happen and I can retire here.

“I’m still here, man. As long as they want me here, I’ll be here.”

Delino DeShields talks safety squeezes and pitches hitting gold crosses

Delino DeShields scored a run and drove in a run with a safety squeeze in the Rangers' 6-2 win over the Tigers Monday night. DeShields said a pitch hit the cross hanging off his necklace, which hit him in the chin in the first inning.

Stefan Stevenson sstevenson@star-telegram.com

Martin Perez earned his second straight win Monday night

Martin Perez held the Tigers to two runs on six hits over six innings to improve to 7-10 with a 6-2 win over the Tigers Monday night.

Stefan Stevenson sstevenson@star-telegram.com

Detroit

200

000

000

2

9

2

Texas

211

101

00x

6

11

0

Detroit AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Kinsler 2b

2

0

0

0

0

0

.243

Machado ph-2b

2

0

0

0

1

1

.296

Mahtook cf

4

1

3

0

0

1

.306

Upton lf

3

1

1

2

1

1

.281

Castellanos 3b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.247

Hicks 1b

4

0

1

0

0

1

.289

Martinez dh

4

0

1

0

0

0

.253

McCann c

4

0

2

0

0

1

.259

Presley rf

4

0

0

0

0

2

.315

Iglesias ss

4

0

1

0

0

0

.254

Totals 35

2

9

2

2

7

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields dh

2

1

0

1

1

0

.272

Andrus ss

3

1

1

0

1

0

.295

Mazara rf

4

0

3

1

0

0

.254

Beltre 3b

3

0

0

1

0

1

.307

Gallo lf

3

1

1

1

1

0

.207

Napoli 1b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.195

Odor 2b

4

3

3

0

0

1

.219

Chirinos c

3

0

2

1

0

0

.224

Robinson cf

3

0

1

1

0

1

.194

Totals 29

6

11

6

3

3

E—Kinsler (6), McCann (2). LOB—Detroit 8, Texas 5. 2B—Odor (15). HR—Upton (23), off Perez; Gallo (33), off Fulmer. RBIs—Upton 2 (85), DeShields (15), Mazara (73), Beltre (49), Gallo (62), Chirinos (30), Robinson (6). SB—Odor 2 (11). SF—Beltre. S—DeShields, Chirinos. Runners left in scoring position—Detroit 4 (Castellanos 2, Machado 2); Texas 3 (Andrus 2, Gallo). RISP—Detroit 1 for 6; Texas 3 for 9. Runners moved up—Upton, Beltre. GIDP—McCann, Beltre 2, Napoli. DP—Detroit 3 (Iglesias, Kinsler, Hicks), (Castellanos, Kinsler, Hicks), (Iglesias, Machado, Hicks); Texas 1 (Beltre, Odor, Napoli).

Detroit

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Fulmer, L, 10-10

5

7

5

5

3

2

75

3.78

Ferrell

1

2

1

1

0

0

25

4.50

VerHagen

2

2

0

0

0

1

26

6.75

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Perez, W, 7-10

6

6

2

2

1

2

97

5.08

Rodriguez

1

0

0

0

0

2

12

0.00

Bush

1

0

0

0

1

1

17

2.82

Claudio

1

3

0

0

0

2

21

2.43

WP—Bush. Umpires—Home, Angel Hernandez; First, John Tumpane; Second, Sean Barber; Third, Ted Barrett. T—2:56. A—21,041 (48,114).

Rangers vs. Tigers

7:05 p.m. Tuesday, FS1

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