Here is the list of free agent shortstops available this off-season. Sadly, some badly needed upgrades could be found, but the Rangers are seemingly not in a position to move Elvis Andrus and his restrictive contract:
Joaquin Arias (31)
Mike Aviles (35)
Willie Bloomquist (38)
Asdrubal Cabrera (30)
Ian Desmond (30)
Stephen Drew (33)
Cliff Pennington (32)
Alexei Ramirez (34)
Jimmy Rollins (37)
Ben Zobrist (34)
Because, unfortunately, the Rangers gifted Elvis Andrus with a contract that he is in no way able to live up to, the biggest improvement the Rangers could make at shortstop, hands down, would be to sign Ben Zobrist. But it’s not going to happen.
The Rangers have three choices with Elvis Andrus and his contract:
One, continue to play Andrus and continue to hope, since due to his debilitating $15 million dollar a year contract that extends through the year 3592, he is as unmovable as he is undesirable to most every other club.
Two, eat a lot of salary and deal him.
Three, bench him.
If Profar were further along (assuming he is coming) in his recovery and his ability to throw, he could be the solution to number three above. But it’s too iffy to count on Profar replacing Andrus in the short- and not-so-short-term.
In 2015, Elvis Andrus committed the second-most errors of his career, he saw his OPS drop again to well below the league average, saw his WAR land him to twelfth out of twenty shortstops with enough plate appearances to qualify, saw his numbers with two strikes shrink to a career low.
And this was in spite of a remarkable second half surge.
The Rangers are stuck with a very mediocre shortstop that is getting paid elite shortstop dollars. So, any talk of free agent shortstops does not happen with Texas.
It will be interesting to see how Andrus responds in 2016 to the sting of the meltdown in Game 5. It could be the impetus he needs to finally turn the corner. Or it could crush him.
Either way, he’s not going anywhere, so Rangers fans get to experience it with him.