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Elvis Andrus doesn’t want to opt out of contract in 2019

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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.

Rays acquire C.J. Cron from Angels

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The Rays have acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Angels for a player to be named later, the teams announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, the Rays cleared a roster spot for Cron by designating outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.

Cron wasn’t expected to factor prominently in the Angels’ plans for 2018, especially given the recent addition of pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani and the projected Luis Valbuena/Albert Pujols combo at first base. The 28-year-old infielder wasn’t overly impressive during his fourth season in Anaheim, either, slashing .248/.305/.437 with 16 home runs and 0.5 fWAR through 373 plate appearances in 2017. He’ll give the Rays a platoon option with fellow first baseman Brad Miller, though neither Cron nor Miller have looked particularly adept against left-handed pitching lately.

Dickerson, meanwhile, is coming off of a banner season with the Rays. The 29-year-old outfielder enjoyed his first All-Star nomination in 2017, rounding out the year with a .282/.325/.490 batting line and career-best 27 home runs and 2.6 fWAR in 629 PA. Some have already speculated that a trade is in the works; barring that, it’s a head-scratching move to make considering his clear offensive value to the team.