Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he doesn’t intend to approach 2018 as a free agent year. The 29-year-old has an opt-out clause lurking at the end of the 2018 season, one that would allow him to walk away from a guaranteed $58 million over the next four years in order to seek a more lucrative contract elsewhere.
That certainly could be an enticing possibility, especially if Andrus continues to build on the career-best numbers he produced in 2017. He slashed .297/.337/.471 with 25 stolen bases in 689 plate appearances and set new personal records with 20 home runs and 4.1 fWAR. Per FanGraphs, his breakout performance made him the fifth-most valuable shortstop in the league. Even considering next season’s stacked class of free agents, it’s hard to believe that he wouldn’t be able to find a taker.
Still, Andrus said Friday, he’d prefer to play out the rest of his career in Arlington than seek another deal through free agency. “This is a year that I”m going to try to be better than last year. That’s my mentality,” he told Wilson. “I want to be here. I want to retire here. Everyone knows that.” For what it’s worth, neither the Rangers nor Andrus’ agent Scott Boras appear to have initiated a serious discussion about a new deal for the veteran infielder, though there’s expected to be interest on both sides.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.