DALLAS — Rangers fans were shocked on Saturday afternoon when it was announced that Elvis Andrus had been traded to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for A’s slugging outfielder, and noted Ranger killer, Khris Davis.
The fact that Andrus was traded was not shocking because it was unexpected, however. For Andrus and the Rangers to move forward, this had to happen. After Andrus had been told this winter that Gold Glove teammate Isiah Kiner-Falefa would be taking over the starting shortstop job, the trade was the right one to make.
Instead, the trade was shocking because Andrus embodies for Rangers fans the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in a decade-plus of baseball that has defined what the Texas Rangers mean to generations of fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
It is hard to quantify what Andrus meant to the Rangers and their fans and no words will ever do justice as to his influence on the franchise.
Statistically, Andrus made such a large impact during his time with the Rangers that he will almost certainly end up in the team Hall of Fame. In his 12 seasons in Texas, he accomplished the following:
- Career batting average: .274
- Stolen Bases: 305 (Rangers all-time leader)
- Games played: 1652 (Second in team history)
- At Bats: 6366 (Second in team history)
- Triples: 48 (Second in team history)
- Runs: 893 (Third in team history)
- Hits: 1743 (Third in team history)
Andrus was also a two-time All-Star, was voted the Richard Durrett Hardest Working Man winner in 2016, and earned Rangers Player of the Year honors for the 2017 season.
In addition to his regular season success, Andrus also leads the team all-time in numerous postseason categories, including hits (46), steals (9), games (42), and multi-hit games (14). Andrus was also the epitome of durability having recorded 10 seasons of 145 games or more since his rookie season in 2009. That makes Andrus the only Major Leaguer to accomplish such a feat in that time frame.
While his statistics are impressive, most Rangers fans will remember him for who he was and the historic teams he played on much more than numbers in a record book.
Andrus became a Ranger at the trade deadline in July of 2007 when the Rangers sent All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for several minor leaguers, three of whom, including Andrus, would play key roles on the World Series squads in 2010 and 2011.
Andrus was just 20 years old when he made his debut as the starting shortstop on Opening Day in 2009 and, the very next year, he was a young star on a Rangers team making the World Series for the first time in team history.
Rangers fans will remember the young and flashy style Andrus exhibited. They will remember his speed, his grace in the field, and his charisma that was a defining characteristic on those pennant winning teams. They will remember his ability to play beyond his years and act as a leader on a team that was as new to postseason success as he was to playing in the major leagues.
Fans will also remember the fact that he played baseball with absolute joy. He embodied those who sought to relive their time playing little league baseball, joking with friends, and having the time of our lives on the baseball diamond.
He was never above a good joke; he was always loose and always smiling. When shenanigans took place on the field or in the dugout, he was always in the middle of it, often with future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre as his on-field comedy partner.
Elvis Andrus represented the nostalgia of baseball that has kept fans glued to the game, every summer, win or lose. He was baseball for many. And in this case, he represented the identity of Texas Rangers baseball for over a decade.
Andrus was also one of the faces of the most successful era in team history, and his exit will be marked as the very last player from the Rangers’ World Series teams who was still with the club, and now there are none.
The greatest era of Rangers baseball is officially over. There are no more faces that remind fans of what was and give them false hope of what can be. What comes now will be completely new and will involve new stars, with new styles of play, and new personalities that we will fall in love with. There will be new hopes now, a lot of questions, and an empty feeling that no one can explain but everyone shares.
Elvis Andrus is gone, and it hurts. The Rangers will now start over in earnest and try to replicate the magic that Andrus played such a central part in. Andrus now moves forward as well and has the opportunity to play for a contender and compete for a World Series. That should make every Rangers fan happy. During his notable epoch in Texas, Andrus was every bit a star and deserves nothing but the best.
It was the right move, it was time, but it is still hard to say goodbye.
Do you agree with the move to trade Elvis Andrus or do you wish the team had kept their longtime shortstop? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @BaseballTX.