It seems a bit far-fetched to view Elvis Andrus as a trade target, but he fills a pressing need at shortstop and is a young under-control player for the future.

Sandy Alderson went on WFAN and talked to Mike Francesa yesterday and mentioned that it was like “pulling teeth” to get Ruben Tejada to do the little things to get better. And it’s very clear that Omar Quintanilla is not a long term solution for the position. There are no big-name free agents to play the position, so a trade seems like the only option for the Alderson front office.

Many will say that the priority is to shore up the outfield, bullpen and to grab a back-end starter to replace Matt Harvey (if he is indeed out for all of 2014), but shortstop is a glaring hole in the lineup.

Since the departure of Jose Reyes, who was a lead-off guy that got on base and got into scoring position, it’s been tough to find a guy to fill his shoes. The only viable player to seemingly fill the lead off role is Eric Young Jr., but his future as a starter could be in jeopardy.

Elvis Andrus is the player to fill that role. In his five years in the big leagues, he has stolen at least 20 bases in all five of those seasons. Add to that a career .339 OBP and he fits the mold of a Sandy Alderson player. He carries a career 13.4 K%, which is below the MLB average and an 8.3 BB% , which is the league average.

Andrus is also under control until the 2023 season. He has one year left on his current deal, and then his extension kicks in 2015 at 8 yrs/$118M. The deal ends when Andrus is in his mid-30s and Sandy Alderson isn’t known for paying players into their late-30s or giving out second generation contracts, so the money works.

Now for the trade part, the Mets have pieces that the Rangers could possibly want: Lucas Duda, Bobby Parnell and Darin Gorski. Duda can play 1B/OF/DH for the Rangers and help offset the loss of the production of Nelson Cruz. Parnell adds to an already deep bullpen, filling the role of Joe Nathan (who is at the end of his career). And lastly, Gorski can go into the system and replace the pieces that were lost in the Matt Garza deal.  This is only a starting point and there may be more to add, but this is a package that works for both the Mets and the Rangers.

Andrus is a complete player, who brings tools to the Mets that the Mets need and want. They have money to spend, prospects and pieces to trade and a willingness to make a deal. The Mets would be wise to call up the Texas Rangers this off-season. Either way, Alderson will be ringing up a large phone bill this winter.

39 comments on “Trade Target: Elvis Andrus

  • steevy

    Do the Rangers want Ike Davis?They can have him.

    • za

      Knowing our luck, he’ll turn into Chris Davis in Arlington.

  • Mark

    Elvis Andrus is an interesting target. Great defensively but his offensive tools could just as easily be suited to bat 8th as they are to bat leadoff in the National League. Also remember he would have to learn new pitchers which may cause a half season of struggle. Granted interleague play should partly minimize the newness of the National League, however, I still don’t understand why when Profar was just about ready to come up and play shortstop the Rangers gave him that huge deal. Personally I’d just as soon have the Mets trade for Reyes or perhaps Chris Owings (Dbacks shortstop prospect) (I hope I got that name right). It would probably take Niese to get Reyes back or Flores to get Owings. Owings might be better long term fit and will not weaken rotation. Love Andrus’ defense but can’t see his salary fitting in Mets payroll.

    • Brian Joura

      If the Mets could get Owings for Flores, I would do that in a heartbeat.

      • David Groveman

        It would make sense. I’m just so ruddy invested in Flores after following him so long.

      • Mark

        Dbacks need a long term solution at third base and Flores fits the bill. Flores outhit Owings in the PCL and looks to be easily a league average third baseman. Flores has been playing in the winter leagues every year and I believe his plan for this offseason is to work on his lateral movement in New York City. Flores plays well at third base. I haven’t been impressed with his range at second base. I actually like Owings upside better than Didi Gregorius. It’s hard to say what Dbacks would be looking for as they clearly did not feel like there was a fit when the Mets were trying to trade for Justin Upton last offseason. The flipside of that is that can’t say on its face that Dbacks Braves trade was a good trade for Dbacks so not sure I have a good read on their front office.

    • TexasGusCC

      Owings grades out as average across the board. Niese for an average at-best SS?

      • Chris Schubert

        You want to trade Niese? Seems like a tough sell with your best pitcher most likely sidelined for 2014. I could see a package for Owings having a prospect pitcher in there, but no current big league arms.

      • Mark

        I said Niese for Reyes not Owings. That would be predicated on Mets being able to sign someone a little better than recent projects. My suggestion would be Tim Hudson. He’s not the pitcher he once was but would be good influence on young pitchers. I’d rather keep Niese.

        • za

          Niese for Reyes would also be…a poor move. I wrote a more negative word there before but civility’s important. Anthopolous was ready to give us the exact same package he gave us for Dickey for Niese. It would take a lot, and I mean a lot less than Niese to get Reyes back. You need to remember that Reyes signed a massively backloaded salary which is going to look worse and worse as age and continued injuries take their toll.

          Andrus would also be a poor move to make. He would improve our defense, sure, but Peralta would be cheaper, ask for a shorter contract, and probably put up much better offensive numbers. Andrus is an 8th place hitter and is definitely better than Quintanilla/Tejada but he wouldn’t exactly transform the team.

  • Brian Joura

    I’m sorry Chris, I’m going to have to strongly disagree with you here on one point.

    There’s no way “the money works.” He’s owed $126 million plus a vesting option that could add $15 million more. This is just an unbelievably bad contract and it shows how a young, talented shortstop could clear waivers. Here are the gory details:

    8 years/$120M (2015-22), plus 2023 vesting option

    signed extension with Texas 4/4/13
    $2M signing bonus.

    15:$15M, 16:$15M, 17:$15M, 18:$15M, 19:$15M, 20:$15M, 21:$14M, 22:$14M, 23:$15M club option
    2023 option guaranteed with 550 plate appearances in 2022 or 1,100 PAs in 2021-22 combined
    2023 option becomes player option with trade or waiver claim
    limited no-trade protection (may block deals to 10 clubs beginning in 2016)
    if traded, Andrus receives full no-trade protection with new club
    may opt out of contract after 2018 and 2019 seasons

    He’s going to be paid $6.475 million in 2014.

    Now’s a good time to mention that he’s got a .639 OPS this year.

    • Chris Schubert

      But, at age 24 right now, it’s not really a bad contract. This is only his first year since signing the deal, so it’s too early to judge it. If when he’s 28 or 29, he isn’t producing at the rate of $15 million a year, then yeah it’s a bad deal. One of the reasons I think the Mets should acquire him is because I strongly believe he will live up to the deal, but again that’s just one opinion. It’s at least worth the conversation, with the shortstop situation we currently have.

      • za

        Why should we take that risk when guys like Peralta, Owings, Hardy, Drew, Escobar, etc are all more available and cheaper?

    • David Groveman

      I wonder if the Rangers are soured on this contract yet. Mets no longer have the bad contracts to swap but I think it gives some interesting options for negotiations.

    • Dave

      I believe Andrus has an out after 4th year of the extension, which if true, and his agent is Boras, he will opt out and makes it a much more viable contract for Mets.

      • David Groveman

        The liklihood of him exceeding that money is low. He will not opt out.

  • RealityChuck

    How on Earth could you think that trade would help the team in any way? Of course, there’s not a chance in hell it would ever go through; Sandy’s not a half-wit and the Rangers aren’t particularly stupid, either.

    I know you have nothing to write about, but why pull nonsense like this out of your hat?

    • Chris Schubert

      It’s pretty clear that shortstop is a need going forward. Tejada hasn’t been performing to ability and Q isn’t a long term answer. With Sandy looking to make a trade this off-season, it really isn’t “nonsense” to think that he will call around looking for a SS. Texas has Andrus and Profar, they both can’t play SS. So it seems there could be a play for Andrus. I didn’t say that the trade must happen or else 2014 is a bust. It’s just another option that Alderson could look at to re-tool the 2014 team.

      • David Groveman

        Don’t get down from people hating on a post.

        It is an outside the box thought with some hiccups and I thought it was a well written suggestion. I think Andrius deserves some thought as an option for the Mets but his contract is a mighty big risk right now.

        I may reference this a bit later when I explore the limited range of SS options.

        People need to be a little more respectful to us bloggers IMHO. It is something to put your name to opinions on a site and another to anonymously denounce people for them.

        • Chris Schubert

          Thanks David, I just took offense to it be called nonsense for thinking this way. It’s the type of out of the box thinking that is going to get the Mets back to the playoffs.

          • za

            It’s not out-of-the box. It’s what you find on Metsblog from people who basically don’t understand baseball finances or how to determine the value of a player. Andrus is an all-glove, no-hit SS with wheels and a massive contract. He doesn’t fit into the Mets’ plans. Moving forward, it makes more sense for us to plug the hole with a veteran and then upgrade either from our farm system or someone else’s.

  • steevy

    Even having a bad year Andrus is a huge upgrade for the Mets.

    • za

      Sure, but that’s not really relevant unless there are only three shortstops in baseball – Tejada, Quintanilla, and Andrus. That isn’t the case, and it would be ridiiiiiiculous to trade for him with that contract of his unless the Rangers eat a massive chunk. That’s not even considering who we lose in the trade.

  • peter

    Andus was put on waivers and puuled this year. Why is that? Why are the Rangers looking to move him?I know Profar is ready. But why fix the Rangers mistake? I don’t see SA investing 100 million dollars plus on a shortstop. He didn’t go it for Reyes who is a more dynamic player and homegrown. He wont do it for Andrus. The Mets don’t need a shortstop who can hit for high average. If Tejada can play solid defense and hit .250-260 in the eight hole then you can turn your attention to your traditional power positions. We would not be having this discussion if the Met offense would generate some acceptable offense numbers from first base. If Davis or Duda hit 30 home runs and drive in 90-100 R.B.I.’s that would go a long way to improving their inconsistent offense.

  • Mark

    The reality of the situation is that this is the kind of discussion the Mets need to have in building the team. There is great value in checking shortstop off as a need for a decade and Andrus has tremendous potential which is what we all want at this point isn’t it? Look at what is available as potential upgrades at first and short. There just isn’t a lot out there. The entire first base position has been historically awful this season. The Cuban defector Abreu I think it is is supposed to be an awful defender that will have to probably DH in a few years so don’t see Mets getting into the bidding for him so where is upgrade at first or shortstop? How about Sardinas from Rangers. He is at least a year and a half away but has great upside and that would leave position open for Tejada next year. If Mets make some upgrades to other positions the Mets don’t need to rely on his bat and can stick him batting eighth.

  • Chris F

    I too was tempted when Andrus cleared, and then the contract…

    There’s a zero percent chance SA signs on for that. However, we might get Jurickson Profar since he now had no home in Texas. And I bet he could be had for reasonable trade chips, most likely a pitching prospect.

  • TexasGusCC

    Guys, the Rangers have talked about moving Kinsler, since he is 32 next year and keeping the young kids. We all want it, but it’s not flying. The Rangers even have their young shortstop in the minors, Sardinas, playing both second and shortstop this year.

  • Name

    If we wanted to look outside the box, I would think that the Rays might be a fit as they love and value prospects so highly. Right now, they have Yunel Escobar playing SS, but they have top prospect Hak-ju Lee waiting in the minors as well as former 1st round pick Tim Beckham.

    Escobar has 2 $5 million options for the next two years so he could buy the Mets some time while they come up with a longer-term solution. One of the main knocks on him is that he has had attitude problems, so much that the Braves had to trade him. Not sure what it will take to get him, maybe a couple of our younger arms.

    Less likely, but maybe there’s a chance that the Rays will give up on Beckham and try to cash him in for something. Prospect for prospect trades rarely happen, but with the Rays having a better SS in Lee(though i’m not sure if he is ready), this could actually be a possibility.

    • NormE

      While I appreciate the fact that Chris Schubert is trying to provoke a discussion on the Mets’ need for a new face at SS, I must draw the line at Name’s mention of Yunel Escobar. He’s burned too many bridges. The Mets do not need another knuckle-head on the roster. Hopefully Sandy Alderson will make SS a top priority and come up with at least a league average player. That would be an improvement over Tejada or Q.

      • Chris Schubert

        Yeah, I think the biggest misconception among fans is that we only need an outfielder and that this can be fixed. I’ve seen knuckleheads on Twitter talk about this all the time. This team has huge wholes at first and short that need addressing as well. And I do believe that Alderson will address them.

        • za

          The team has “holes”, not “wholes”, at SS, 1B, OF, and to a lesser extent at 2B. At 1B, we’re going to be better next year whether we acquire anyone or not. Between Flores, Satin, Davis, and Duda, we’re guaranteed to improve there even if we don’t bring in anyone from outside the organization so we can cross that one off temporarily. In the OF, Lagares is slotted in, whether as CF or RF. We still need to see what Den Dekker can do, and I do think Andrew Brown could be part of a respectable platoon moving forward.

          At SS, it makes far more sense to go after a guy like Peralta – much cheaper, in all likelihood better performance, shorter contract, etc.

          I like Mets360 because the authors are willing to put out their opinions but it also means that sometimes, the quality of the posts is risible, as in this one.

      • Name

        I realize that Yunel might be a knucklehead, but luckily i haven’t heard anything bad about him for a few years now and he can probably be average offensively and provide some value with the glove. Both of his years are option years so if the experiment doesn’t work out next year, it would be easy to cut him. If it does, then we have him at a reasonable cost in 2015

        • za

          Totally agree, and I would posit that the Rays’ organization knocked some sense into him.

  • Chris F

    Interview last week with Tim Colishaw, beat writer for Rangers, as posted in dallasnews.com:

    Awhile back, you said that you thought Jurickson Profar would be traded in the off-season if not before. Do you still think the Rangers will trade him?

    I believe I said the ideal solution would be to deal him for something they need and that was more likely to happen in the off-season. I don’t see what his future is here. They have Kinsler at second and Elvis at short, no strong desire to move either one and they didn’t give Profar in the outfield much of a chance. So I see him moving, yes.

    • TexasGusCC

      Thanks Chris, that’s actually very interesting. I had heard an interview with a Rangers’ beat writer in late July, but this is welcome news. I would love for them to trade Andrus or Profar to the Mets, and it just makes so much sense to keep the younger guys, but ok…

      • David Groveman

        I would say that the Rangers would listen to an offer of Syndergaard for Profar and nothing less.

        • Chris F

          I think the note has soured a bit on Profar in his audition thus far, perhpas devaluing him some. I would not part with Syndergaard (unless we could get Cargo or Stanton in the deal somehow), but Montero and another solid arm near the majors might get the job done? Clearly, Texas wants pitchers…and we got em.

  • Metsense

    Andrus is too expensive. If the Mets can afford a contract like his then the money would be better spent toward an OF such as Choo. Shortstop needs upgrading but there is very little out there with only Perralta an offensive bat in the free agent market and how much of that bat is because of PED’s. Owings is intriguing and maybe a Flores could shake him free.

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