Elvis is leaving Texas.
Veteran infielder Elvis Andrus was traded to the Oakland Athletics on Saturday, just over two months after the Texas Rangers said the only player remaining from their only two World Series appearances would no longer be the starting shortstop after 12 seasons in that role.
Texas is sending the 32-year-old Andrus, catcher Aramis Garcia and $13.5 million to the A’s for designated hitter Khris Davis, along with catcher Jonah Heim and right-hander Dane Acker.
Andrus, who made his MLB debut with the Rangers at age 20 in 2009, is owed $14 million in each of the next two seasons. The $120 million, eight-season deal he signed in 2015 also includes a $15 million option for 2023 that now, because of the trade, becomes a player option if he has 550 plate appearances in 2022, or 1,100 combined in 2021-22.
The AL West champion A’s, who have made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, recently lost shortstop Marcus Semien to Toronto in free agency.
Rangers president Jon Daniels said the deal had been discussed earlier in the winter, and conversations picked up in the past week. Daniels made a call Thursday night to Andrus, who could have vetoed any trade.
“From a career standpoint, I think he understood it right away, which was, we’ve made decisions based on our plan,” Daniels said. “This is an opportunity for him to play shortstop, which is, you know, what he has done his whole career and is very confident in his abilities to do that for a very good club.”
The Rangers said in December that Gold Glove-winning third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who will be 26 when the season opens, would be given the opportunity to be their starting shortstop. They told Andrus then to prepare to play all infield positions.
When Andrus made his big league debut, the Rangers moved Michael Young – then 32 himself – to third base after he had been an All-Star shortstop the previous five seasons. Young is still the team’s career leader and Andrus is second on the list for games played, at-bats and triples. Young is also the career leader for hits and runs, with Andrus third in both those categories.
“On behalf of the Texas Rangers, I want to thank Elvis Andrus for the tremendous impact he has made on our organization over the last 12 years. His play on the field, his connection to our fans, and his work in the community have played an integral part in shaping our franchise,” Rangers chairman and manager partner Ray Davis said. “He will forever be a member of the Texas Rangers family.”
Andrus has batted .274 over his 12 seasons, and the two-time All-Star is the only MLB player with at least 10 seasons of 145 games or more since he debuted in 2009, before the Rangers went to the World Series in each of the next two seasons. He hit .194 last season when limited to 29 games because of lingering lower back issues.
The 33-year-old Davis led the majors with 48 home runs in 2018. He has hit .243 with 218 homers and 580 RBIs in 938 big league games for the A’s (2016-20) and the Milwaukee Brewers (2013-15). He is signed for $16.75 million this season.
In 79 career games against the Rangers, Davis hit .271 with 15 doubles, 32 homers and 80 RBIs.
Heim, a 25-year-old switch-hitter, made his major league debut with the A’s in 2020, hitting .211 with five RBIs in 13 games. Acker was the A’s fourth-round selection out of Oklahoma n shortened MLB draft last summer.
Garcia was acquired by Texas from San Francisco on a waiver claim in November after he missed all of the 2020 season while recovering from surgery on his right hip labrum.
The Rangers were an AL-worst 22-38 last season, and turned their focus to younger players. They had three 22-year-old rookies in the starting lineup on the final day of the season, a decade after the team’s first World Series when Andrus was the youngster.
“That’s really one of the most exciting parts about this. As great as those teams were, it was a decade ago,” Daniels said. “Obviously we’ve moved past that. And I’m excited to see these guys compete and form their own identity as a club. … It allows them in some ways kind of a free runway ahead of them to to demonstrate who they are and the style of play that we want.”