Elvis Andrus said again Sunday that he is leaning toward not opting out of his eight-year contract, but that isn’t all the Texas Rangers shortstop had to say on the final day of the season.
Andrus said that the Rangers need to improve their mind-set next season, that the players who have two or three seasons under the belt need to stop worrying about surviving in the major leagues and start doing the things that help teams win more games.
Andrus didn’t name names, nor was his final media session of the season a fiery soap-box moment, but it was veteran insight into some of what went wrong this season and what can’t go wrong going forward.
“As a team, I’m tired of losing,” said Andrus, who for the first time in his career has endured consecutive losing seasons. “I want us to come in with a better mind-set. That doesn’t mean win the World Series, but a better mind-set from everybody in the clubhouse.
“We have a bunch of young guys, and sometimes all they are thinking about is how to stay in the big leagues. That gets you away from helping the team on a daily basis. Everybody goes through it. A bunch of guys have two or three years in the league. If you have two or three years, by now you have to figure it out.”
Besides not calling out any specific players, Andrus also left unsaid if the mind-set that developed in the younger players was the result of the communication issues that ended up costing former manager Jeff Banister his job.
Players who are fearful of losing their jobs or being sent to the minors might play tentatively instead of doing the things that brought them to the major leagues in the first place.
Andrus’ point is that those players have established themselves as part of the future and instead of looking over their shoulders need to begin doing the things necessary to win ballgames.
That will help complete their development.
“You’re going to continue to get better and keep growing as a player,” Andrus said. but as a group it’s a great time to start think about winning instead of just developing.”
He said that he would be happy if interim manager Don Wakamatsu was given the job full time, but he also said that the right former player would be a good hire. Andrus said that a Spanish-speaking manager would be “cool,” but the key is an ability to communicate to each player on the roster.
“I don’t know how it’s going to end up,” Andrus said. “But we do need somebody who can lead us. We need a manager that can understands and communicates well with us as a player, especially having a young team. It’s not easy. That’s when you need a teacher, pretty much. If it’s not Wak, hopefully they bring somebody that is ready to embrace the team because it’s not easy, everything, right now.”