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Monday, April 1, 2013
What does Elvis Andrus deal mean for Profar, others?

By Richard Durrett

Elvis Andrus isn't leaving the Texas Rangers at all after agreeing to a contract extension, per ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, that could keep the shortstop in a Rangers uniform until he's in his mid-30s (though there could be opt-outs that could alter that).

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Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett discuss Elvis Andrus' contract extension with the Rangers and the options the club has with Ian Kinsler and Jurickson Profar.

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Still, rather than watch Andrus take offers on the open market after the 2014 season, the Rangers were able to lock him up as a member of their core long-term. Andrus deserves a bunch of credit, too. We've seen plenty of Scott Boras clients test the open market. Andrus wanted a fair deal, but he also wanted to stay. So it works for both parties. The Rangers, who have taken the "wait-and-see approach," as C.J. Wilson referred to it last week, on certain players, didn't do that with Andrus. Good for them.

So what does it mean for Jurickson Profar and the infield situation? Well, it increases the club's options. Now that Andrus is signed up for the long haul, the team can consider dealing Profar for a big-time player -- think Giancarlo Stanton or David Price, for example -- without the worry that they might not have a shortstop if they do. Profar is a valuable asset, considered by many to be the top prospect in the game. If you trade him, it has to be for something big. Perhaps that's at the trade deadline or next winter.

The Rangers could, of course, keep Profar in the organization. They could consider moving Ian Kinsler to the outfield or first base (if Mitch Moreland struggles) and put Profar at second base. Maybe that's some point this season or more likely after this season. But it would put Profar in the infield and allow him to grow and see what he can do.

Could they trade Kinsler? They could, though they made a sizable financial commitment to Kinsler last season and see him as a member of the core. After this season, my bet is Kinsler would be willing to move and with an offseason to work on the outfield, it might make more sense.

I like this move. Andrus has been steadily getting better each season, becoming a top-tier shortstop. He has started four seasons and in that time, has played in at least 145 games each season. Last year, he played a career-high 158 and hit .286 with three homers and 62 RBIs. His stolen bases dropped last season to 21, but he had 32 or more stolen bases in the three previous seasons. His defense has improved on the routine plays. He could always throw a highlight-reel gem at you, but sometimes his focus wasn't there on the easier plays. That focus was there last year. He's 24 years old and has a bright future. Now he's a Ranger for a long time.