February 8, 2012

Elvis Andrus' new contract a big win for both sides

The deal saves the team money and player distractions.

The three-year, $14.4 million contract that Elvis Andrus signed Wednesday is a money-saver for the Texas Rangers and a headache-saver for the All-Star shortstop.

The Rangers bought out all three of Andrus' arbitration years, eliminating three off-seasons of negotiating and also giving Andrus the peace of mind of having guaranteed money now.

In the process, he likely has saved the Rangers money moving forward the next three seasons by not maximizing his value through arbitration.

But the sides could never agree on a longer deal that would wipe out Andrus' first few free-agent years. That doesn't mean they won't continue to work on that, though.

"We have made no bones about the fact that we would like to sign some of our core players to extensions that do extend into free agency, and to be 100 percent clear, Elvis is one of those guys," assistant general manager Thad Levine said.

"We hope he is a Texas Ranger for years to come. That's an ongoing dialogue that we've had with Elvis and his representatives. I don't believe that signing Elvis to a three-year deal now at all precludes our ability to continue that dialogue."

The Rangers covet Andrus' energy atop the lineup and his abilities at a premium defensive position. They believe that the best is yet to come from Andrus, who has been in the big leagues for three seasons yet doesn't turn 24 until August.

Andrus doesn't want to leave a club that he believes can continue reaching the playoffs and will eventually win a world title. His goal in negotiating his new contract was to avoid any haggles and distractions the next few seasons.

"Now, I can just go out there and focus on playing and trying to help as much as I can to help the team continue to have the success we're having right now," said Andrus, who has at least 30 stolen bases in each of his first three seasons.

"I'm still learning every day. I feel my best years are coming. I'm getting stronger. I'm getting to know the league more. I'm getting to know more about my offense. I'm trying to get better every year. If I can stay healthy, for sure I will."

Vegas, baby

Tickets for the Rangers' two exhibition games against the Cubs on March 17-18 in Las Vegas go on sale at noon Monday. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster (800-745-3000 or or at the Cashman Field box office.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_fwst

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