As I sat in my nightly ritual of watching Texas Rangers baseball and their latest skid of blowing games because of a sad bullpen and sadder errors, I can’t help but wonder what’s wrong with Elvis Andrus?
This was supposed to be a top-three shortstop in baseball and while becoming a main staple for the Rangers at a premium position. When he came into the league in 2009 he was a high potential player with a cannon for an arm and a range better than Jeter. As we all know Ron Washington had his fair share of teachable moments with him in the field. Andrus seemed to always make the unbelievable plays but had head lapses on the routine plays.
Many thought due to his young age and maturation process he will improve and this would be a distant memory. Well that was true for the following 4 seasons and he appeared in back to back World Series. Move onto 2014 and the 2015 seasons and he’s a totally different player and not in the good sense. His career numbers were all down in 2014 and his strong suit (fielding) started to show up again like it did when he started his Ranger career.
Fast forward to this season and it’s gotten even worse to where his fielding percentage (.961) and errors (16) are near the bottom among qualified shortstops. His defensive WAR is next to last in baseball at (-.2)! Yes folks that’s a negative defensive WAR. He’s fallen from a career high in 2013 (4.3 WAR) to his (-.2 WAR). Not to mention his bat has been declining for the past 3 seasons and now you’re becoming stuck with a huge contract with declining production.
His numbers are way below his career averages across the board. He has been removed from the top of the lineup this season by manager Jeff Banister which was a good move to maybe take some pressure off but his numbers haven’t improved. Although the shortstop play has declined in the American League, the numbers are still not acceptable for the type of money he commanded a few seasons ago.
So what does he bring offensively? His stolen bases (10) are down this season in part because his OBP (.301) is way down. Andrus’s batting average has hovered around .230-.240 this season and he offers almost no power.
So you ask yourself what is he bringing to the table now?
His leadership has proved to be very good on the field and he’s a leader in the clubhouse, but there’s a point to where he has to produce for the Rangers to make any run at the post-season either this year or next. The big question this season is do the Rangers try to shop him and try to find a team to take on his ludicrous contract or do they see if he can turn it around? The Rangers should indeed try to shop him and get prospects in return because they’re still not convincing anyone that they’re a legit contender this season. Even though there uncertainty with Profar I still think you should move him while you can and take your chances with Profar and your top 10 farm system.
Andrus’ problem is his fielding has suffered so much that it’s affecting him mentally at the plate. He’s still a little immature and inconsistent and that doesn’t bode well if you want to be a leader and a top 3 shortstop in baseball.