Andrus excited to commit to Rangers long term
Shortstop agrees to eight-year extension worth approximately $120 million
ARLINGTON -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus has a new contract and general manager Jon Daniels admitted it was one of the more unusual ones done by the club.
Andrus, who is already signed through 2014, agreed to an eight-year extension worth $120 million with a vesting option for a ninth year. But the contract worked out between the Rangers and agent Scott Boras also allows Andrus to terminate the deal either after the '18 or '19 seasons.
"It's an unusual deal that works for both sides," Daniels said at Thursday's press conference to announce the new contract. "There are not many players that would have the options Elvis would have going into free agency, so we were willing to do some unusual things we don't normally do.
"We understand he wants to keep the right to be a free agent before he's 30. The point is he wants to be here, we want him to be here and this is what both sides are willing to do."
Andrus, 24, is signed for this season at $4.8 million and for 2014 for $6.475 million. At that point he would have been eligible for free agency, had he not agreed to the extension. Now he is signed at least through '18 at $15 million per season. At that point he can become a free agent, having just turned 30. He will have the same option after the '19 season. If he turns that down, he is signed with the Rangers through '22.
"It's a good clause … me and Scott talked about the future and where I'll be [six] years from now," Andrus said. "I'm getting better as a player, but I still want to be here for a long time. I'm not thinking about that."
Andrus said the No. 1 reason why he agreed to the extension is he wanted to stay in Texas and win a World Series here.
"It's everything. … I love to play here," Andrus said. "This is my family. I'm not going to rest and sleep until I get that World Series ring.
"As a player, I think of myself as a winner. If I don't get this city and community a ring, I won't sleep. We got so close. As a player, that's why you want to get better, prove to your teammates that you're a winner.
"I love Texas. They have treated me well. My family is in love with this city. I'm going to continue to fight to get the ring."
The extension also goes against much speculation that Boras was determined to take Andrus to free agency after the 2014 season. The reverse proved true. Boras, at Andrus' urging, proved quite amenable to working out a deal that could keep him in Texas for at least four extra years. But he also keeps Andrus in position to get one more mega-contract during his prime years if he is still playing at a high level.
"As we sat down and looked at things," Boras said, "it became clear to me and Elvis -- and I think to [Daniels] -- that we had some very workable and common thoughts that would allow us to reach an agreement. It was a very collaborative effort and one that worked out well for all sides."
The Rangers see Andrus as being a crucial part of the Rangers' success over the past four years, and to their future as well. He is a two-time All-Star and, at age 24, the Rangers see him getting better with each season.
"When you go back and look at the key moments when we were building our club, one of the big ones was in 2009 when we made the decision to bring a young shortstop to the big leagues," Daniels said. "It was very consistent with what we wanted to be about -- a young team that played with an upbeat tempo and aggressive style. Elvis is the epitome of this team and what we're all about.
"He's a key part of our winning culture. We want to win the World Series and when we can retain guys who are in that prime, it lives up really well for us."
Boras also praised manager Ron Washington's work in helping develop Andrus as a front-line Major League shortstop. Washington has been the Rangers' manager for seven seasons, but he is also a highly-regarded infield instructor, and Andrus has been his No. 1 student for the past four years.
"It's really remarkable," Boras said. "You go back in baseball history and look at shortstops who have done what Elvis has done at his age and with this type of team -- it's a very small list. Usually it takes years of experience. But to have a PhD as a manager to help you do that … Wash has done an outstanding job."
"As a player, especially a young player, that's what you want," Andrus said. "You want, as soon as you make a mistake, to be that lucky to have somebody that wants to teach you, wants to make you get better, make you do the job that you're supposed to do. I always say I really appreciate that, I will never get mad at that. I always appreciate [Washington] personally and thank him for being there for me."
The Rangers now have their two middle infielders signed at least through 2017, as Ian Kinsler is in the first season of a five-year, $75 million contract extension signed last April. The Rangers also have one of the top prospects in baseball in Jurickson Profar, who is the starting shortstop at Triple- A Round Rock.
At some point, somebody is going to be traded or asked to switch positions, but the Rangers aren't in any rush to make that decision. Profar will likely spend this season at Triple- A unless there is an injury, and then the Rangers will re-evaluate their situation. Profar called and congratulated Andrus on Thursday.
"We've got some options," Daniels said. "The other thing we've got is we've got some time. Our focus right now is on the big league season and, at the Minor League level, preparing those guys for taking that next step.
"We've got some time, we're not going to rush into anything. Right now, we're just excited to have Elvis, and we know he's a big part of the core going forward."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.