He’s the third veteran to be released by the A’s over the last week, including mainstay Jed Lowrie (last Thursday) and Stephen Piscotty (Tuesday).
Andrus was acquired by Oakland from the Rangers in February 2021 in a five-player deal that sent Khris Davis and Jonah Heim to the Rangers. Andrus was the starting shortstop in nearly all of the 146 games he played that season and most games this season, but he started to see his playing time diminish toward August -- something he wasn’t very happy about.
"Everybody knows I'm an everyday player. So doing this, it's not fun for me," Andrus told the San Francisco Chronicle in a story on Saturday. "Of course I'm upset. I'm pissed about it. But like I said, the best I can do is stay positive and wait for my turn and be ready whatever happens."
A’s manager Mark Kotsay said the decision whether to DFA or release Andrus wasn’t taken lightly. His leadership and experience were valuable, Kotsay said, but in the end, the club had to do what it thought was best for the 14-year veteran, and that was to let him find a situation elsewhere.
“There's no secret that Elvis wasn't really happy with the direction for himself. And I totally understand and respect it,” Kotsay said. “Anytime a veteran player who's played every day sees his playing time get cut and the direction of the organization going young, it's a difficult transition.”
The 33-year-old two-time All-Star slashed .237/.301/.373 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs this season in 106 games with Oakland.
Oakland’s move provides rookie Nick Allen with the chance to start at shortstop for the rest of the season.
“This is Nick’s chance to go earn it and earn it for next year to show this organization that he can handle shortstop every day and really just go capture the moment,” Kotsay said.
Allen was called up in April and optioned twice before being recalled again in late June. Since then, even after a rough July at the plate, the 23-year-old has shown promise. Entering Wednesday, Allen was slashing .278/.350/.472 through August.
While the news of Andrus’ release was upsetting, Allen understands his role and the opportunity that is in front of him.
“Everything he did was a teaching moment. He’s someone that I think I’ll always remember, obviously, for the rest of my life because I came up, this is my first year and it’s hard to put into words how much he meant to this team and to me,” Allen said.
Andrus was set to make $14 million per year from 2021-22, with a club option for $15 million in ‘23 that converts to a player option if he reaches 550 plate appearances in 2022 or combines for 1,100 plate appearances from 2021-22. Andrus made 386 plate appearances in 2022.
“I think, honestly, Elvis is going to land somewhere. He’s going to be on a team in contention. He's going to fill a role, whether it be every day, or in some type of utility capacity that's going to have impact and give him a chance to play in the postseason,” Kotsay said.
“The decision wasn’t an easy one, but I do feel it’s real that Elvis Andrus is going to be on a playoff team with a chance to go to a World Series.”