Elvis Andrus’s streak of twelve consecutive opening day starts appears to be coming to an end.
Jon Daniels and Chris Woodward announced yesterday in a press conference that Isiah Kiner-Falefa will be the Rangers shortstop in 2021 and Andrus will assume the role as a utility player.
They said they met with Andrus and told him to prepare to play multiple roles next season.
Chris Woodward said this: “This wasn’t an easy decision based on what Elvis has done for the organization. It comes down to, ‘Do we believe in Kiner as a shortstop?'”
Apparently they do, considering he is fresh off winning a Gold Glove award at third, and shortstop is his natural position.
Also, considering Andrus’s skills at the plate, and defensively, have slipped to unacceptable levels.
Elvis has been an icon with the Rangers. He’s a two-time All-Star and was the starting shortstop in the glory years, including two World Series titles and two more division wins. He suffered through one of the most cursing innings possible in Game 5 against Toronto in 2015, yet rebounded.
But those glory years for both the player and the team are long gone.
Time and injuries caught up to him. He still has two more years left on his contract, a contract that is doubtful the Rangers could get out of.
In praising Kiner-Falefa, and handing him the baton, Woodward added, “I want to see it. Can he handle the position? I believe he can. We felt Kiner was ahead in our minds, so we felt, ‘Let’s name him the starting shortstop.’ He still has to earn that. Nothing in this camp is going to be given.”
That last sentence, it should be noted, has been spoken by a few Rangers managers about a few Rangers players and has turned out to be mostly hot air.
But for now, baring injury or something weird, the Rangers new shortstop is Isiah Kiner Falefa.
Unfortunately, like Elvis himself, this team is a shell of what it once was. It’s time to begin the massive overhaul. Now all they need is a new third baseman, a new second baseman, and a new first baseman.
One out of four. You have to start somewhere.