Elvis Andrus has reportedly agreed to an eight-year, $120 million extension which could keep him with the Rangers through the 2023 season, but there’s an interesting wrinkle in the deal.
According to Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest, Andrus will have the right to opt out of the deal after the 2018 season. The 24-year-old shortstop is already under team control through 2014, so the Rangers have bought themselves four years at minimum. Meanwhile, Andrus will have the ability to test the open market after his age-29 season, which is a pretty smart play by agent Scott Boras.
For what it’s worth, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com believes that Andrus will take free agency “unless something catastrophic happens.” On the off-chance that he sticks around, the extension includes a vesting option for a ninth season in 2023.
Andrus owns a .275/.342/.353 batting line over his first four seasons in the majors. He established new career-highs last season in batting average, hits, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.