Per T.R. Sullivan, the Texas Rangers and Elvis Andrus have agreed to an 8 year, $120 million contract extension. Elvis has an opt-out clause after four years, allowing him to become a free agent after 2018, which doesn't thrill me, but I can live with it. If Elvis were to opt out, this would be a four year, $60 million extension.
Regardless of the opt-out, this deal makes me happy. I've been very vocal about the fact that I wanted the Rangers to lock up Elvis Andrus long-term. Part of this is on an emotional level, because I love watching Elvis Andrus play baseball, I love having him as a member of the Rangers, and I want him to be a Ranger forever.
This gif is the perfect example of why:
But from strictly a baseball standpoint, this is a deal that makes a lot of sense. David Cameron has a blog post at FanGraphs that talks about why this is so, and rather than re-hash everything he says, I will simply direct you to his post.
I also would point out that one of the things people forget is that Elvis is still extremely young. This is his fifth major league season, and he's 2
34 years old. He's a day older than Mike Olt. He's a year and a half younger than Leonys Martin. He's a year younger than Justin Upton, who many wanted to trade for because he's young and has big upside.
Elvis has a career bWAR of 12.8. There are 8 shortstops since 1900 who have accumulated that much bWAR through their age 23 season:
Cal Ripken, Jr.
That's five Hall of Famers, a future Hall of Famer, a guy who was on a Hall of Fame career path until injuries de-railed him, and a very good player from the dead ball era.
Only sixteen shortstops have broken 10 bWAR through their age 23 seasons, and among the seven that trail Elvis are Hall of Famers Lou Boudreau, Joe Tinker and Rabbit Maranville, should-be-in-the-Hall-of-Famer Alan Trammell, one of the best shortstops currently in the game in Jose Reyes, a guy who put up huge numbers in the war years (and who was also a really good player) in Vern Stephens, and Garry Templeton, a guy good enough to be traded straight up for Ozzie Smith, but whose career fizzled out early.
That's elite company that Elvis Andrus keeps. And that's one of the biggest reasons that I have been so loudly advocating signing Elvis Andrus, even if it means paying more than you'd normally like to pay for a speed and defense guy. He's a young star who came up through your system. He's one of the best players in baseball at his position, and he has established himself as such at an age when most players are still in the minor leagues.
So, if you weren't going to sign Elvis Andrus to a big money extension, who were you going to sign? There's no point in letting Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson and Mike Napoli walk to "keep your powder dry" if you aren't going to apply those savings to someone like Andrus.
So I'm happy. I'll talk about the implications for Ian Kinsler and Jurickson Profar in another post later in the week. I don't want to worry about that right now. Right now, I just want to soak in the fact that, to paraphrase a line from Jeff Sullivan, Elvis is ours and you can't have him.