June 18, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Ben Revere (2) runs the bases as he scores from first base during the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Nationals 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

What Would a Trade for Elvis Andrus Net the Texas Rangers?


Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rangers are unlikely to give up Profar, but would be more receptive to deals for Elvis Andrus. That begs the question: what would he bring? It is important to note that the Rangers inked him to an 8 year deal worth 120 million, which could serve as an anchor to any trade, or (as discussed later) actually help.  the best comparable is probably Jose Reyes- he has a big contract but a decent bat (at least for average) at an offensively challenged position. But he was traded along with Josh Johnson and four other major leaguers. Much of the return the Marlins gave was simply salary relief. In other words, they were so happy to get rid of the huge contracts that the return was comparatively small. This means that while Reyes is an okay comparable, his trade isn’t. Andrus last year posted a 2.8 WAR due mostly to his truly appalling slugging percentage (.331). He did, however, double his stolen base totals.

Sep 30, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) tosses the ball to first baseman James Loney (left) to force out Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) during the eighth inning at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

To me, a not-awful comparable might be the Ben Revere. Granted, Revere (somehow) has even less power, but he plays a less valuable position (Center).  Even including his poor walk rate, he still doesn’t seem like a horrible comparable. Finding guys who play an up-the-middle position, have no power, have great speed, play great defense, and produce ~3.0 WAR isn’t easy, especially when that group gets whittled down to those who were traded.

Andrus is definitely considered more talented on his merits. Though Revere is also an excellent fielder, Andrus is simply better in this regard. Revere is also known for his truly awful arm which doesn’t help.

Ken Rosenthal argues that Andrus’ contract actually helps him, since it locks in an elite defender until 2018 (when he would have an opt-out), and that’s one way to look at it. Currently, one WAR is valued at roughly 5 million dollars on the open market. Andrus’ pays him 15 million through 2018. Assuming he keeps with his career averages, his deal should end up pretty fair. If he doesn’t fade too much, it could end up being a steal as inflation sits in.

But Revere, at least statistically, wasn’t that far off in his 2012 season (before he was traded) to Andrus in his 2013. I assume Andrus will receive a heftier return, but I sincerely doubt he can command a block-buster trade all on his own. Revere brought the Twins a league-average starter (at the time) and a high-upside prospect. I’m assuming Andrus can bring better, partly because he represents the last “good” shortstop available. In other words, after him there is a huge drop-off in talent among shortstops who qualified for the batting title. (Jhonny Peralta had a better season, but he is 33, has little range and his

season was abnormally good. He also suffered a PED suspension.) The only currently available shortstops with superior WAR are Troy Tulowitzki (and Peralta). Tulowitzki  has a contract through 2020 and injury problems, but he is the best batsman and defender at his position when healthy. And it isn’t clear the Rockies will even trade him. There is no framework in place with the Cardinals (who have, justifiably, insane interest in him.) Basically, take Ben Revere’s haul and possibly add another decent piece and I’m willing to be that’s the deal.

Revere fetched Trevor May and Vance Worley. This season, Worley was truly an abomination. He posted a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts, and his K/9 fell about a third. But when the Twins aquired him, they thought they were getting a roughly league-average starter to eat some innings (which is ironic, considering he had previously never eclipsed 133).

The real score was Trevor May. In 2011, (the last rankings before the trade) May ranked as a “B” prospect (above average) and was ranked fifth in the Phillies system. He had “dominance potential”It should be noted that he has had control issues and is now ranked 12th. Pitching prospects are finicky.

At this stage, it’s tough to make predictions on who could get dealt, mainly because it’s tough to see where teams see themselves-a question that won’t be definitively answered until free agency kicks into gear. Take the Mets. Since Jose Reyes left shortstop has been a black hole. But it’s tough to tell how inclined Sandy Alderson would be to splurge and finally get a solid, controllable shortstop. (I would assume not very, but teams have shocked before).

And that’s the thing. It is fair to say that Andrus should bring at least one solid player, maybe two, and a high-upside prospect. But filling in those variables is impossible until more developments.

 

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  • thatboz

    Andrus is above average in the field but he is no Ozzie Smith on the field or in the dugout.