Thursday, Apr 4 at 5:25 PM
The Rangers formally announced Elvis Andrus' contract extension about three-and-a-half days after it became common knowledge. That didn't make the signing any less momentous.
The star shortstop is here for the long haul. Andrus inked an eight-year extension on his current two-year commitment, with the new seasons worth a reported $120 million, bringing the overall contract up to a little more than $131 million.
Per multiple reports, the 24 year old also has the option to opt out of the contract in either six or seven years (his choice) - an event that's considered likely, as it would put him back on the free agent market as a 30 year old. If Andrus neglects to take the opt-out, the deal also includes a vesting option for a ninth new year on the deal, which would be worth $15 million. According to Jon Heyman, the ninth year locks in if Andrus has either 550 plate appearances in 2022 or 1,100 plate appearances combined in 2021 and '22.
"[There are] lots of things coming to my mind right now that I can't describe," Andrus said. "I'm really happy to be part of the Rangers. I'll come with same mentality -- keep going out there and try to get a ring."
Andrus wasn't signed by the Rangers, though General Manager Jon Daniels said they finished second to Atlanta in their bids to sign the shortstop as a 16 year old out of Venezuela. But he has been with the team for six years now, ever since he was a little-known 18 year old sent over from Atlanta in the Mark Teixiera deal of 2007. He has made two All-Star teams and is considered one of the best shortstops in baseball. Daniels sees Andrus and his story as pivotal to the franchise, saying the decision to promote his young shortstop from AA to Major League shortstop in 2009 was key.
"He is everything we're about. The charisma, the smile, connection with fans and teammates. At 24, the things he's accomplished to this point... the way he leads the charge... "
Andrus' agent, Scott Boras, also heaped praise on his client.
"You don't see many young men come into the game at Elvis' age and do what he's done. Go back into baseball and look at the number of shortstops who have done what Elvis has done, it's a very, very small list."
Today is about Elvis. But he made sure to thank his family, thank his minor-league coaches, thank the teammates who helped him get to this point. And most of all, thank manager Ron Washington. And he wasn't the only one.
"We wouldn't be here without Ron. [Elvis is] one of the first young players that he embraced, taught the winning way." said Daniels.
"Great deal of credit goes to Wash," admitted Boras. Much like Daniels, he brought up the patience it takes to teach a 20-year old the necessary skills to excel at the major-league level, praising Washington's ability as an instructor.
The deal wasn't easy to put together. Most analysts thought Andrus would hit the free agent market in two years, with some being so sure that Elvis trade rumors were a prime subject throughout the offseason. But Andrus says he's happy to be in Texas, and he's not worried about losing his drive.
"As a player, I treat myself as a winner. Until I get this city and organization a ring, I won't sleep. We came so close to getting it that, as a player -- that's what makes you get better... I love Texas, they treat me well... my family loves this city too. I can't wait to continue to play, continue to grow," said Andrus. And he had the perfect capper to his answer.
"Continue to fight to get a ring."
Washington did a good job summing up the event's magnitude.
"This is a great time in Rangers history, that we can lock up a talent like Elvis. He doesn't take anything for granted. I don't think what he's accomplished will affect anything going forward. That's the type of blood that flows through his body."
He then made a point of addressing Elvis.
"I'm very glad that you're back on board for the years you are."
Ron’s not alone - so are Rangers fans.
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