Don’t worry this is neither a long winded post nor one about abstinence. The Rangers recently came to agreement with their young shortstop on an extension that bought out his arbitration years and show him a sign of commitment. While this does in a way effect the Mariners, I wanted to take different approach than how his contract obviously gives the Rangers more roster flexibility and a certain degree of financial flexibility.
Andrus is a interesting case because I don’t actually believe he’s quite reached his offensive potential. I think he’s more apt to continue his growth and exceed what he produced both his first two seasons and last year where he posted a 96 wRC+ while being an above average fielder that UZR has a +7 runs, DRS has at +13 runs and Fangraphs FSR (fan scouting report) has at +12 runs. Regardless of how many official runs you count him as contributing towards the defense he’s obviously very good for a guy who is 23 and turns 24 in August.
I don’t think it’s outrageous for this young man to become a regular +4 win player at a premium position and thus of course I think it’s a great idea to keep someone young, in Andrus’ situation, to be cost controlled. It keeps from a situation occuring where Andrus comes closer to his prime and has a breakout season where you are then forced to pay him big dollar signs.
Likewise it brings thoughts of the Mariners own 23 year old, Dustin Ackley. It’s been mentioned, on a couple of different occasions, that the Mariners would be wise in just paying him now to a lucerative, yet team friendly, contract. Obviously with Scott Boras as his agent this isn’t very often a very common occurance for his clients. But you never know how Dustin feels and thus the circle and argument can go round and round.
What I’ve started to think about is rather what if he doesn’t absloutely blow up into Chase Utley immedately? Don’t cruicfy me yet… he’ll get there. Oh, and how he’ll get there! But being that Satan is his agent it seems to me that waiting until arbitration comes up might be the way to play it. While it’s certain at that point the Mariners will not get the best deal, they will be more certain of what to expect going forward as well as possibly able to buy out a free-agent year or two out.
If the Mariners do expect to come into a situation where money is less of an issue than what it is right now the Mariners should be more concerned with keeping Ackley around rather than at what price they sign him. Boras pushes his clients to free-agency and if the Mariners have something more on their hands than just Todd Walker than they need to figure out the best game plan that results in him being retained for thelong term.
I’m not saying that if the Mariners were to sign him tomorrow to a six year deal (that covered both his arbitration years and his first year of free-agency) that it would be a bad thing. Just that it’s unlikely to happen and if they were to wait it wouldn’t be purely a bad thing.