In a rather stunning swap of veterans, prospects, and cash between divisional rivals, the Rangers are prepared to send long-time shortstop Elvis Andrus, catching prospect Aramis Garcia, and $13.5MM in cash to the Oakland A’s for outfielder/designated hitter Khris Davis, catcher Jonah Heim, and right-handed pitcher Dane Acker.
For the Rangers, this ends Andrus’ 12-year run as the starting shortstop. He was the last remaining connection to their back-to-back pennant-winning teams in 2010 and 2011. He was set to lose his starting shortstop job to Isiah Kiner-Falefa, but the thought had been that he would compete for the everyday third base job. Instead, he will have the opportunity to re-boot his career in Marcus Semien’s vacated position as Oakland’s primary shortstop. With more than 10 years of Major League experience, all of which had come in Texas, Andrus had accrued 10-and-5 rights, though he has apparently okayed the trade.
While the roster implications are significant for both teams, the financial aspect is no less fascinating. Andrus will be owed $14MM in both 2021 and 2022, and because of the trade, a $15MM mutual option for 2023 becomes a player option. He’s also getting a $800K assignment bonus, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter), though it’s unclear which side will be responsible for it. The money sent from Texas to Oakland basically covers one of Andrus’ three remaining seasons. The Rangers will also free Oakland of the $16.75MM owed to Davis in 2021.
Per the original terms of the deal, the 2023 options is technically a vesting option the becomes a player option with either 550 plate appearances in 2022 or 1,100 appearances in 2021 and 2022. Previously the plate appearance threshold would have triggered a mutual option instead of a player option. In the aggregate, if that option vests, the A’s will ultimately take on some long-term money, owing Andrus $29MM through 2023 instead of the single season payment owed to Davis.
The two teams are essentially splitting the overall money owed to the two veterans. Davis will be a free agent after the season, however, so Texas frees some long-term payroll flexibility, even if the total amount of money they now owe remains very close to what they owed before the deal. Instead of the $29MM By paying $30.25MM of the $59.75MM to be paid out to Davis and Andrus over the next three seasons, however, the Rangers will pay out very close to the same amount they would have owed Andrus had the deal not been done.
More analysis to come…
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal broke the initial news of the deal, as well as the inclusion of Jonah Heim and Dane Acker. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweeted news of Garcia’s inclusion in the deal, initially reported to be David Garcia instead of Aramis Garcia. ESPN’s Jeff Passan had the deal expanding beyond the initial framework of Andrus for Davis. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram added the exact amount of cash heading to Oakland.