Padres Rumors: Elvis Andrus for James Shields Might Work

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(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The Texas Rangers came very close to advancing in the American League Divisional Series. A couple of errors in the seventh inning of the decisive game five of the ALCS by Elvis Andrus helped the Toronto Blue Jays rally to win the game 6-3. These errors were a huge disappointment. Not exactly the best time to have back to back misplays on the field. It happens though. If you play this game long enough, it happens.

Andrus has been under much scrutiny since signing a multi million dollar deal in April of 2013. Eight years and $118 million dollars is a ton of money to spend on a player. The production from Andrus is not typical from a $100 million dollar player. He has virtually no power and is average at best on the field. He does however produce and is out there everyday for your team.

There is still seven years left on Andrus’ contract presently for a grand total of $103 million dollars. It is no secret that the Rangers would like to move Andrus, but would the Padres consider trading for the shortstop? The Padres need a shortstop and Andrus would fit the bill but that amount of money is huge. The two teams do however match up very well in a potential trade.

Looking at Andrus as a player you will see that he has played in 140 plus games in every season he’s played in his seven year career. He is very durable and has even played in 156 or more games the last four seasons. You can count on him every day and that in itself is very valuable when you are talking about the captain on the infield.

Andrus as a player is complicated to explain. His offensive game is about making contact and hitting early in the count. The Rangers had initially used him at the top of the order but he just doesn’t walk enough and carry a high enough on base percentage to hit lead-off. He does have some speed as he has 217 stolen bases in his career including 25 bases last season.

His on base percentage for his career is at .331. Which is not all that bad. To put that into perspective Alexi Amarista has a .280 career on base percentage. Andrus would be a huge offensive upgrade over any shortstop the Padres currently have on the roster. He hit .258 last season with seven home runs and 62 runs batted in. His WAR rating last season was 2.1 and he has a career total of 20.4 in seven seasons.

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Fielding wise Andrus is not known as a great fielder. His numbers have always been right at the Major League normal for the position. He will not kill you at shortstop, but he is not a flashy type of player either. He will get a lot of negative press for his playoff errors, but mistakes are part of the game. Andrus has the moxie to shake off the errors and put them in the past.

So what kind of deal could be made to balance out this deal? The obvious choice would be James Shields. The Rangers already have Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish on their team at the top of the order. The numbers on Shields have suffered of late but in the Rangers rotation he wouldn’t be required to carry the majority of the load. Having him as your number three pitcher would make the Rangers rotation one of the best in the league. Plus factor in Darvish will be out until May at the earliest after going through Tommy John surgery last season.

Andrus is due at least $103 million for the next seven seasons, Shields is due at least $65 million for the next three years. The deal would still not make sense finacially for the Padres but if the Rangers were to take on Melvin Upton Jr. and his $31.9 million for the next two seasons, then the Padres might be really interested.

The Rangers would probably not want anything to do with Upton, but the potential of getting out of Andrus contract long-term might just be too enticing for them to ignore. Yes Upton is making way too much for his production the last three seasons, but he is only under contract for two seasons and Shields for three.

The Rangers would have to pay $21 and $22 million dollars more for Shields and Upton for the next two seasons. They would also have to pay $6 million more for Shields opposed to Andrus for the 2018 season, but then they save $13, $15, $14, and $14 million from 2019-2022. They pay up front but gain flexibility in the long run.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

So why would the Padres want to take on Andrus and pay him $6.1 million more than Upton or Shields in total value? Well, it is better to be invested long term into a 27 year old shortstop opposed to a 34 year old pitcher and an over priced outfielder? Andrus does come with question marks, but at a salary of $14 and $15 million annually he is not killing you too bad finacially.

The Rangers are clearly motivated to move Andrus and depending on how much they covet Shields and value losing Andrus money off the books, the Padres could get even more in the deal. Leonys Martin is an interesting name to keep an eye on. He has fallen out of favor with the Rangers and is an elite defender in center field. He has a lot of upside and could be a great fit for the Padres in center. Martin only hit .219 last season with five homers and 25 RBI’s for the Rangers. Martin has had some great years WAR wise as he put up a 4.6 in 2014 and a 3.5 in 2013. Even with his horrible numbers last season he put up a 1.1 WAR rating. His defensive WAR numbers the last three years are 1.7, 2.2 and 1.9. Those are elite type numbers in center field. Mike Trout‘s defensive WAR numbers the last three seasons are 1.0, -0.5 and -0.9.

Adding Martin in the deal would be icing on the cake for the Padres and adding him and Andrus would give the Padres a different dimension to their potential lineup. A player the Rangers would covet from the Padres is Craig Kimbrel. The Rangers could surely use a closer of Kimbrel’s ilk at the end of the bullpen. He is due to make $24 million for the next two seasons and then has a $1 million dollar buy out or $13 million dollar option for the 2018 season.

The Rangers also have a need at catcher and Austin Hedges or Derek Norris would be huge upgrade for them. The potential for these two teams to pull off a blockbuster deal is very high. Jon Daniels and A.J. Preller are very good friends and have a great relationship with each other.

1 thought on “Padres Rumors: Elvis Andrus for James Shields Might Work

  1. Please don´t start again with this “trade Shields” thing!!!, we need a pitcher exactly like Shields, one who can go 200+ IP, 200+ K´s, 3.50 ERA a year….heck, he had a bad season by his standar numbers, 2016 could be a lot better….maybe, if AJ wants Andrus, better try a Gyorko and Upton swap for Andrus + Profar maybe,, just maybe send them Cashner…

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