Andrus 'among the greats in Texas'

Veteran SS dealt to Oakland after 12 years with Rangers

February 7th, 2021

It’s the beginning of a new era in Texas Rangers baseball as the club shipped away the last piece of its 2011 American League pennant-winning team on Saturday. Former All-Star shortstop was dealt to Oakland for slugger .

"I really have mixed emotions a little bit,” Andrus said on a Zoom call with Oakland media. “I played my whole career -- 12 years -- with the Rangers organization. At the beginning, it was a little shocking. But at the same time, I understood what was going on in the organization with the rebuilding process.

“That's something you learn through the years. When I found out the opportunity to play for Oakland opened up, it made sense for me and for my career. I'm blessed to join the Oakland A's. I'm really thrilled and happy to be a part of that team and help any way I can to get back to the postseason and go deep."

Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said the deal was discussed earlier in the winter, but talks heated up about a week after Marcus Semien signed with the Blue Jays and the two clubs came to an agreement.

Andrus struggled with injuries in 2020, but he's a career .274/.330/.372 hitter as the everyday shortstop for most of his 12 seasons. In Oakland, he now has a chance to be the full-time starter at shortstop again, while playing for a team competing for a World Series.

“[The Rangers] have a different direction than where I'm at right now,” Andrus said. “I'm not part of a process. I want to win, so that's why joining Oakland makes sense for me. Their mentality is to win and they are the top team in the AL West right now."

For the Rangers, it signifies the start of the "next great Rangers team" as they get younger across the diamond, Daniels said. Andrus' departure will open up the third-base competition even more and the Rangers may still look to add another infielder ahead of Spring Training.

“Elvis wasn't holding them back necessarily,” Daniels said. “But it's just the nature of life right when you have an opportunity in front of you and somebody is going to step up and seize it. So that, for me, is an exciting piece of this to see where that goes and who steps up.”

Though the club and Andrus are separating, Daniels could not let it go unnoticed what Andrus meant to the organization and the community.

Daniels has known Andrus since he was 15 years old, and reiterated that Andrus' love and enthusiasm for the game never changed during his entire time with the Rangers, which began in 2007 as part of a seven-player trade sending Mark Teixeira to the Braves. That’s what made him such an important part of the clubhouse and why the fans were so drawn to him.

Daniels' favorite memory of Andrus was his baserunning in Game 2 of the 2010 ALCS. He singled off the Yankees’ Phil Hughes and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He then stole both third and home in the Rangers’ 7-2 victory.

“That really stands out to me after we lost Game 1 and just how that energized the park and the team and the comeback and his place in Rangers history,” Daniels said. “That being one of my personal big memories."

Andrus was a fan favorite throughout his time in Texas, even as he struggled last season, as evidenced by a social media outpouring following the trade. Manager Chris Woodward said he and his family were always out in the community, doing charity events and building community relations.

Daniels really noticed how beloved Andrus was on Saturday morning, when he was at his 14-year-old son’s baseball practice.

“One of his friends, totally randomly, was telling me about how much Elvis was his favorite player and how much he loves to watch him,” Daniels said. “I'm sitting there biting my lips, thinking, you know, 'I got some news for you.' But it was a reminder of how popular Elvis is and for all very positive reasons.”

Woodward said he and Andrus have had difficult conversations, especially within the last year, but the respect was always there between the two of them. Andrus agreed that it was tough at times, but understood that he and the team were going in different directions.

As the Rangers' youth movement gears up over the next few years, it’s clear that this was the best deal for both the organization and Andrus.

“I think this is honestly the best thing that can happen for him as well, just because he's going to get the opportunity to do the thing that he knows he can still do and that's play shortstop on a daily basis,” Woodward said. “I feel like in all the conversations [we had], he was ready to have a good year. I'm a little worried that some of that might be against us now. But I obviously wish him the best and, like I said, he's got a heck of a career. One that will go on among the greats in Texas for sure."