The San Diego Padres are on the hunt for a shortstop this winter, and have already eyed former National League East shortstops Andrelton Simmons and Ian Desmond. But with Simmons headed to the Angels and Desmond still able to sign with any team, it sounds like Elvis Andrus has also entered the picture.
Sources tell MLBDailyDish.com’s Chris Cotillo that the Padres could make a run at the Rangers shortstop, who is under club control through 2022 with a vesting option for 2023. Andrus’ contract also has opt-out clauses for after 2018 and 2019, though his long-term security and healthy salary for the next several years make it unlikely that the two-time All-Star would elect free agency.
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Andrus comes off a season in which he .258 with 43 extra-base hits and 67 RBIs, along with 25 stolen bases and 46 walks in 160 games. The 27-year-old posted very similar offensive numbers to his 2014 campaign, and also returned to grading as an above-average fielder after struggling in the field in 2014.
A trade could come together fairly quickly if the Padres were to get serious about Andrus, as they’re reportedly shopping both Tyson Ross and Matt Kemp. The Rangers are on the hunt for a big bat and pitching this winter, and were connected to Ross at the July trade deadline, so either he and/or Kemp could come into play in trade talks between the two clubs. Ross is under club control via arbitration for two more seasons, while Kemp comes with three years of control at a significantly higher $18.25-million annual hit.
Other names of note on the Padres end are James Shields and Brandon Maurer. Shields figures to be shopped hard by San Diego this winter, and Jon Daniels could target Maurer (whose name was mentioned in July trade rumors) to further bolster his bullpen. Derek Norris could also be a target for the Rangers as a potential platoon partner at catcher with Robinson Chirinos.
This is all just speculation, of course, but is all worth noting as the Padres clearly have the pieces to put together a potential deal for Andrus. Whether other Texas players are of interest to San Diego is unknown, though one would think A.J. Presser would crave young, controllable pitching as he looks to reconstruct his roster.