Texas Rangers rumors: Elvis Andrus and the San Diego Padres.
A few days ago, Bob Nightengale tweeted something out about the San Diego Padres looking for a shortstop:
The #Padres and aggressive A.J Preller still aren't done dealing. They are now scouring the shortstop market, teams say.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 7, 2015
And of course, the internet jumped all over it. There was immediately talk that, hey, how about an Elvis Andrus to San Diego trade? Those who put forward that idea based it on Preller and Jon Daniels having worked together for years, the Rangers aren't good and have lots of middle infielders, and besides, Elvis isn't really good any more and the Rangers need to dump his contract.
At least one Rangers media member threw some cold water on the possibility:
According to a source, it is "highly unlikely" that the #Rangers trade Elvis to the #Padres right now.— Jared Sandler (@SandlerJ) April 9, 2015
But still, it prompted at least a couple of national writers to talk about the possibility of Elvis going to San Diego.
Ken Rosenthal had a column where he called Andrus one of "the most obvious names" linked with the Padres, saying that Preller is "known to be a fan" of Elvis. But he also pointed out that the Rangers aren't really loaded with shortstop depth right now, given the trade of Luis Sardinas and the fact that Jurickson Profar is out for the year.
(Interestingly, two of the possible targets Rosenthal mentions for the Padres are former Rangers -- Sardinas and Leury Garcia).
Rosenthal also notes the not-insignificant fact that the season is less than a week old, and the Rangers aren't in sell mode. They might be come June or July, but right now, the Rangers are trying to win, and so it doesn't make a lot of sense for them to trade Elvis in April.
Dave Cameron, on the other hand, is completely dismissive of that issue in his piece on the Padres looking for a shortstop. Cameron has been adamant for some time that the Rangers are terrible, are going to be terrible for the next couple of years, and thus are wasting their time holding on to veterans.
In case you weren't clear on where he stands on the Rangers' outlook for 2015, he lays it out there:
So, Preller likely wouldn’t have to do much sweet-talking here to get his old boss interested in a deal, especially since the Padres have bullpen pieces to spare whilethe Rangers bullpen is a desolate wasteland. And while trading Andrus away would make the Rangers worse in 2015, they’re already likely to be one of the worst teams in the American League this year, and the marginal difference between winning 72 games or 74 games shouldn’t be large enough to stop them from dumping as much of Andrus’ contract as they can if given the opportunity.
Cameron goes on to suggest that the Rangers should eat $30 million of Elvis's deal, turning it into an 8 year, $90M contract (roughly $11M per year in average annual value), while picking up a reliever to help their "desolate wasteland" of a bullpen (even though, if there's one thing the Rangers have a surfeit of right now, its intriguing young bullpen arms).
Cameron ultimately decides neither the Padres nor the Rangers would be all that motivated to make a deal, but the thing that jumped out at me is the inconsistency in his views here.
Now, because so many discussions I get involved with vis-a-vis Elvis Andrus result in responses along the lines of, "He's no good anymore and you're an Elvis fanboy," I want to be clear here: the next few paragraphs have nothing to do with what I think, or what you think, of Elvis's ability going forward. If you think he's done as an above-average defender, then the contract is a problem, because he's not likely to be an above-average shortstop.
But that's not Cameron's view. Here's what Cameron has to say about Elvis, going forward:
While Andrus is young enough to bounce back and still projects as an above average shortstop in the big leagues, $120 million is a big commitment to a speed-and-defense who racked up twice as many errors as he got hits in the first three games of the season.
Cameron says Elvis projects as an above-average shortstop in the big leagues. But he still is of the position that Elvis doesn't have value unless he's got an $11M AAV.
Which makes sense, if you think wins are valued at $4-4.5M per. But Cameron has also been one of the most vocal on the subject of salary inflation in baseball. In particular, he was one of the few who was defending giving Rick Porcello $21M per year:
@tberger87 You pay for future performance, not past performance. He’s a +3 WAR pitcher. Worth this and more.— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) April 7, 2015
@jay_jaffe @SamMillerBP @mdfrese $83 million in FA this winter bought you ~10 WAR. You don’t think he can do that over next 4 years?— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) April 7, 2015
@jay_jaffe @SamMillerBP @mdfrese Doesn’t need to. He’s been a career +2/+2.5 WAR (depending on ERA/FIP) per year guy w/o Ks.— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) April 7, 2015
Using Cameron's math, at the $90M he seems to think Elvis is really worth over 8 years, Elvis would need to provide about 11.5 WAR to make that deal equivalent to what the free agent market is paying. That's less than 1.5 WAR per year.
Elvis has, over the course of his career, been worth, on average, 2.5-3 wins per year. Cameron, based on his comments above, appears to think Elvis will continue to be worth that going forward. Porcello, as Cameron notes, has been a 2-2.5 win pitcher over the course of his career. Porcello, who debuted at the same time as Elvis, has been a 13.1 fWAR/10.6 bWAR player for his career, while Elvis is at 17.0 fWAR/17.6 bWAR. And Porcello and Elvis are the same age.
Porcello has been a 2-2.5 win player up to this point, Cameron thinks Porcello will be a 3 win player going forward, and thus is worth $21M per year.
At the same time, Elvis has been a 3 win player up to this point, Cameron thinks Elvis will be a 3 win player going forward, but Cameron apparently thinks Elvis is only worth $11M per year.
I don't get it.