Rangers handsomely reward shortstop Elvis Andrus
Guaranteed $120M US over additional 8 seasons through 2022
Elvis Andrus is staying in Texas because he wants to win a World Series with the team that brought him to the major leagues.
Scott Boras, the agent who loves to have his clients test free agency, is fine with that.
The Rangers on Thursday announced a new contract that could keep the two-time all-star shortstop in Texas for another decade. Andrus is guaranteed $120 million US over an additional eight seasons through 2022, with a vesting option for 2023.
"I think as a player I treat myself as a winner and if I don't get my ring and I don't get this city a ring and this organization a ring, I won't sleep," said Andrus, a 24-year-old already in his fifth major league season with two trips to the World Series. "I love everything here. I love Texas. They treat me well."
Andrus could have become a free agent after the 2014 season, and now that can't happen until 2018 through an opt-out clause in the new deal that gives him a $2 million signing bonus. The Rangers also have limited trading power, whereas long-term deals usually include no-trade clauses.
"Elvis' thing is he wanted fairness and he wanted to stay here," Boras said. "He wanted to work out a deal, and his goal is to win with this team and win with this community. He's very comfortable here, and it's really nice that you can get a contract structure where you can keep a player where he wants to play because it doesn't often work out that way."
Andrus will get $15 million per season from 2015 to 2018 — when he turns 30 — and the salary is the same through the first two years of a player option. With the two years left on his current deal at more than $11.2 million, Andrus would earn more than $131 million over 10 seasons.
An opt-out is likely if Andrus becomes a steady .280 hitter who matches his career average of about 30 steals per season and remains one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. In a certain way, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels hopes to have that problem in five years.
"When ... both sides truly want to be here, not just saying it, but truly acting on it, you've got a pretty good starting point," said Daniels, who made the decision in 2009 to promote a 20-year-old Andrus to the big leagues before he'd ever played a game above Double-A. "It's an unusual deal, but both sides have options going down the road."
Texas now has both of its all-star middle infielders under contract through at least 2017. Second baseman Ian Kinsler, a three-time all-star, is signed through 2017 with a club option for 2018.
The Rangers acquired Andrus from Atlanta in the July 2007 trade for that sent Mark Teixeira to the Braves. Texas also got in that deal left-hander Matt Harrison, an 18-game winner and All-Star last year, and hard-throwing Neftali Feliz, the closer for both the World Series seasons.
Andrus hit a career-best .286 in 158 games last season. After his 25 errors in 2011 that were the second-highest total for a shortstop, Andrus had only 16 last season while playing 10 more games in the field.
"He was special from the day he arrived here," said manager Ron Washington, a former infielder who admittedly was rough on his young star his first two years in the majors. "He realized things that happen on the ball field that a 19- or 20-year-old just doesn't realize. Once I started realizing that, it was just about keeping the pressure on him."
Andrus earned some leeway from his manager last year. Now he has the financial security to go with it.