Continuing look at the Rangers 40-man roster.
Right-Handed Hitting Shortstop
Even with an aggressive agent like Scott Boras, Andrus was smart enough not to opt out both years he had a chance. Nobody wants to pay $15 million for a shortstop who is sliding off the face of the earth offensively. His OPS+ has gone from 115 in 2017, to 78, to 78, to 58 in 2020. The Rangers are still on the hook for two, and possibly three, more years of this. (If he accrues 550 plate appearances in 2022, or a combined 1,100 plate appearances in 2021 and 2022, the Rangers are on the hook for paying him $15 million in 2023.)
Andrus has started twelve opening days in a row, the longest current streak among major league shortstops, and just two years shy of Cal Ripkin Jr’s streak. With potential trade partners non-existent, and with his salary too high to dump, Andrus will almost certainly be the starting Rangers shortstop for 2021.
The Rangers have claimed they are committed to a youth movement but that only means they aren’t going to go after any top free agents. A true commitment would be moving on from Andrus and there are no signs this team is willing to do that.
Rangers fans simply need to hope Andrus can improve on a season in which he hit .194, with an on-base of .252 and an OPS of .582.
The good news is, those numbers were so miserable he almost has to improve on those. The bad news happens if he doesn’t. Because Elvis is not leaving the building.