Earlier today, the Oakland Athletics announced that they have released shortstop Elvis Andrus. The move freed up space for the team to recall infielder Sheldon Neuse from Triple-A Las Vegas.
Andrus, 33, was acquired by the A’s from the Texas Rangers on Feb. 6, 2021, with Aramis Garcia for Khris Davis, Jonah Heim, and Dane Acker. In his debut season with the A’s, he hit .243 with three home runs and 37 RBI in 146 games. This year, Andrus is batting .237/.301/.373 with eight home runs and 30 RBI. Throughout his career, he has best been known for his defense, posting +6 Outs Above Average (OAA) as recently as 2021. This season, he is at an even +/- 0 OAA on the year.
The shortstop is a two-time All-Star (2010, 2012) and left as the Rangers’ all-time leader in stolen bases (305). He also ranked second in games (1652), at-bats (6366) and triples (48), third in runs (893) and hits (1743), fifth in doubles (303) and walks (519), seventh in RBI (636) and eighth in extra-base hits (427). Andrus has logged 1,872 career games in the field, all at shortstop, while owning a cumulative .270 average with 87 home runs and 703 RBI in 1,904 games across 14 major league seasons in the majors.
With shortstop Tim Anderson likely out for the rest of the regular season, White Sox fans have begun to consider whether or not Andrus makes sense for the club down the stretch.
While his offense leaves much to be desired, his current .674 OPS would be better than both current alternatives – Leury Garcia and Lenyn Sosa. In addition, while it would be beneficial for the White Sox to give Sosa some at-bats in order to determine if he will be an impact player for the club next season, the long-term benefit for Sosa might not outweigh the short-term need for a White Sox team that is fighting for the playoffs. In other words, they can’t necessarily afford the growing pains that Sosa will likely go through over the next several weeks.
Andrus has also been significantly better on the road (.715 OPS) than at home (.622 OPS) this season – likely in part due to the ballpark he plays at in Oakland. If the White Sox could get closer to the .715 OPS version of Andrus, this seems like a pretty easy move to make.
There is one potential concern for Andrus: he has a player option for next year for $15M if he hits 550 PA. However, doesn’t seem likely he’s going to reach that number (currently has 386 PA) unless he plays every day.
This move does make a lot of sense on the surface for the White Sox, so I would imagine the team at least considers bringing in Andrus for the rest of the season. Perhaps another point in his favor: he is known as a good clubhouse guy, and was on the same Oakland team as Josh Harrison last season.
The White Sox are currently 6th in the waiver priority order, and the only competing team ahead of them is the Red Sox – who likely won’t be needing a veteran shortstop any time soon. Everything is lining up for the White Sox to make this move – should they consider it one worth making?
We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
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