How to use Elvis Andrus trade piece is key

The Rangers must be very careful how they use Elvis Andrus as a trade chip. That’s not to say they’re going to trade the shortstop. They could stick with Andrus at short and decide whether to put Jurickson Profar at second base and move Ian Kinsler to the outfield.

But because of Profar and the fact that Andrus has just two years left on his current contract, moving Andrus is something that must be considered. Andrus’ agent is Scott Boras, who is likely to wait until the young shortstop hits the open market before negotiating an extension. It’s still possible that could be with Texas, as the Rangers’ last venture with Boras has certainly paid dividends so far with the acquisition of Adrian Beltre.

But when you’ve got a viable, much cheaper option, it makes sense to look for ways to move Andrus and save some money down the line.

Because of his value, if he’s moved, it’s got to be for the right piece.

I wasn’t shocked to hear Andrus’ name come up in terms of Justin Upton. That's what some reports, like USA Today, have noted the past day. The Rangers are exploring all options and scenarios, including life without Josh Hamilton. Upton is due $9.75 million in 2013, $14.25 million in 2014 and $14.5 million in 2015. The Diamondbacks could save some money in that sort of deal.

Upton, 25, had 17 homers and 67 RBIs in 150 games in 2012 while hitting .280. He had a .355 on-base percentage. In 2011, he hit .289 with 31 homers and 88 RBIs.

Upton played solid defense in 2012 and would give the club an outfielder should Hamilton not return.

But to me, trading Andrus (and no, I don’t see the Rangers trading Profar) should be used on a frontline starting pitcher. While I like Upton and think he could help the Rangers, I’m not inclined to use the Andrus trade piece for him at this point.

Do you agree? If not, make your case to deal Andrus for Upton.