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.