The Texas Rangers and Elvis Andrus have agreed to a contract extension that will pay the 23 year old shortstop $14 million to $15 million over the next three years. The deal takes care of the player’s arbitration eligible years with the club, and sets Andrus up for free agency ahead of the 2015 season.
With a large chunk of his value coming from his defense and speed, the following three metrics have judged him thusly over his first three seasons in the league:
- 2009: 3.4 fWAR
- 2010: 2.2 fWAR
- 2011: 4.5 fWAR
- 2009: 2.2 rWAR
- 2010: 1.9 rWAR
- 2011: 3.5 rWAR
- 2009: 2.2 WARP
- 2010: 2.5 WARP
- 2011: 3.7 WARP
Before the contract had been agreed to, Andrus was preparing to go to arbitration for the first time, asking for $3.6 million with the Rangers offering $2.65 million. If we imagine that the two sides would have settled for something in the neighbourhood of $3 million ahead of actually going to arbitration, we can also imagine something close to a $2 million raise for the last two years of the contract. Under such a scenario, Andrus would likely be giving up a couple of million dollars for the security of guaranteed money over the next three seasons.
In this sense, it’s a team friendly deal, despite including no club options or comparing anywhere near to the contract that the Rangers worked out with Ian Kinsler, which was signed almost four years ago. However, this analysis also assumes that Andrus is close to being fully developed, which isn’t necessarily the case. It can be difficult to believe at times, but the young Venezuelan player is only 23 years old and played a full season of Major League Baseball rather successfully at the age of 20.
The deal also serves to remind us what a fantastic contract the Toronto Blue Jays negotiated with Yunel Escobar when he signed away his last two years of arbitration for a mere $10 million, and gave his team options for his first two years of free agency at the same rate. Over the last three seasons, Escobar’s wins above replacement metrics are significantly higher than the numbers belonging to Andrus.