April 1, 2013

Rangers, Elvis Andrus moving toward contract extension

An eight-year, $120 million deal for the All-Star shortstop could include an opt-out clause.

Elvis Andrus and the Texas Rangers have taken significant steps toward a contract extension that would make him the fourth-highest paid shortstop in major-league history.

A baseball source confirmed a Fox Sports report that the two sides were closing in on an eight-year deal for $120 million, going so far as to say that only a physical was standing in the way of the deal becoming official.

A second source said that general manager Jon Daniels and agent Scott Boras have discussed an extension, but that eight years could be a sticking point with the Andrus camp.

If the extension were to replace the two remaining years Andrus has on his current deal, he would become a free agent at age 32. He wouldn’t be getting any younger if it were to kick in after this season or after the 2014 campaign.

His camp doesn’t want him to become a free agent while entering the downhill side of his career after he debuted as a 20-year-old in 2009.

But the eight-year issue could be overcome with a clause that would allow Andrus to opt out of the deal at a certain point.

Daniels and Boras declined comment.

Any deal that keeps Andrus for the long term would immediately call into question the Rangers’ plans for shortstop Jurickson Profar, the top prospect in baseball. Scouts agree that Andrus is the better defensive player but see more offensive potential in Profar.

During the off-season the Rangers contemplated moving second baseman Ian Kinsler to first base to create a spot for Profar at second base. Kinsler, though, balked at making the move in the first year of his five-year, $85 million deal, and the Rangers signed free agent Lance Berkman to be their designated hitter and kept Mitch Moreland at first.

The Rangers have three All-Stars in their infield — Andrus, Kinsler and third baseman Adrian Beltre — and Profar will open this season at Triple A Round Rock.

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