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.
The Braves released veteran infielder/outfielder Jose Bautista on Sunday, per a team announcement. Right-hander Lucas Sims was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett in a corresponding move.
Bautista, 37, was recruited by the Braves in mid-April as a potential third base option. He inked a minor league deal with the club and lasted just 12 games in the majors, during which he batted a meager .143/.250/.343 with three extra-base hits and a .593 OPS across 40 plate appearances. While he isn’t too far removed from his last productive season in the big leagues — he collected 40 home runs, a .250 average and 5.3 fWAR with the Blue Jays in 2015 — his power has been noticeably declining over the last three years, and it’s clear the Braves don’t have enough time or opportunity to wait for him to get his groove back.
Without Bautista, Johan Camargo is expected to handle the hot corner on a daily basis. The 24-year-old infielder is working through his sophomore season at the major league level and entered Sunday’s game batting .226/.368/.403 with six extra bases and a .772 OPS in 76 PA. General manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged that top infield prospect Austin Riley could also get a shot at playing third base sometime in 2018, though the club has no current plans to promote him from Triple-A at the moment.