Rangers News Round-up
A day after the Texas Rangers began the 2013 season as listlessly as they closed out the 2012 campaign, shortstop Elvis Andrus agreed to a massive contract extension that will tie him to the club for a decade.
According to Jon Heyman at CBSSports.com, Andrus’ extension is an eight-year, $120 million deal that signals that the ball club is committed to keeping the 24-year-old All-Star in Arlington. The extension is on top of the two years and $11.2 million remaining on his current contract.
This news follows speculation over whether the Rangers would attempt to trade Andrus before his contract expired after the 2014 season to make room for minor league phenom Jurickson Profar.
The Astros walloped the Rangers, who appeared to think it was still spring training.
Profar, 20, spent spring training with the Rangers before going down to Triple-A Round Rock. He is widely considered the top prospect in baseball, but the Rangers currently have a logjam at middle-infield with Andrus at shortstop and Ian Kinsler at second base.
There have been rumors of Kinsler moving to first base or the outfield, but that seems to be on the backburner for now. Either way, All-Star Andrus isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
About that gimme of a season opener
In more immediate matters, the Texas lost its season opener on March 31 to new division rivals the Houston Astros. The Astros are widely expected to compete for the worst record in baseball while the Rangers should at least be in the hunt for a wild card spot in the American League playoffs.
But don’t tell Houston that. The Astros walloped the Rangers, who appeared to think it was still spring training.
The Rangers’ lifeless performance in the 8-2 loss echoed their effort in a 5-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in the wild card game last October after they stumbled through the end of the regular season and coughed up the AL West divisional title in the final game of the season.
The Astros have the lowest payroll in the majors and have lost at least 100 the past two seasons. The Rangers made the World Series in 2010 and 2011 and were bounced in the playoffs last year.
It looked like the teams switched jerseys during the opener in Houston. Of course, this Rangers team is missing some names that helped propelled it on the best run in the organization’s history, namely Michael Young, Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton.
Feelings about those three are mixed, but there is no denying the team is hurting right now without them.
With the renewed commitment to Andrus, Cuban center fielder Leonys Martin and, eventually, Profar, the Rangers feel they have a plan for the future. But they’ve still got to beat the Astros.
In Johnny Football news
The Rangers announced that Heisman-winning Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel will throw out the first pitch on Sunday, April 7, against the Los Angeles Angels.
Manziel recently abandoned Twitter after an offseason that included several highly publicized incidents in which a 20-year-old college student acted like a 20-year-old college student and everyone tried to shame him for it.