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Elephant Rumblings: Elvis Andrus on pace to secure 2023 option

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MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Wednesday, AN!

My observations have led me to believe that the Athletics Nation community would prefer to see Elvis Andrus leave the building after the 2022 season. But per the contract the A’s inherited from the Rangers upon acquisition via trade, if Andrus logs another 184 plate appearances, it will be up to him whether he plays in 2023 for a cool $15 million. Tough decision, huh?

Anthony Franco at MLB Trade Rumors posted an update yesterday on vesting options that are currently in play around the league. Franco puts Andrus’ option in the “borderline” likely category. His contract has a club option for 2023 that becomes a player option if the A’s shortstop makes 550 plate appearances this season. He’s on pace to barely exceed that.

The A’s have a legitimate reason to curb Andrus’ playing time: promising rookie infielder Nick Allen could be the team’s future shortstop. Allen has mostly been playing second base this season, but the talented defender could benefit from more big league reps at his regular position.

From a near-term competitive standpoint, however, it is harder to justify playing Allen over Andrus. Allen has yet to achieve good results offensively with the A’s, posting a wRC+ of just 63 through 149 plate appearances.

By contrast, Andrus has been roughly league average at the plate with a wRC+ of 97 this season, much improved from his 2021 mark of just 72. He’s a solid veteran defender and second only to Sean Murphy among A’s position players with an fWAR of 1.6. Andrus is probably a better “win now” option than Allen, but he’s also probably not going to be worth $15 million in 2023.

If the A’s do bench Andrus—as they did yesterday—more often, and he falls just short of securing his players option, it could raise eyebrows at the MLBPA and potentially trigger a grievance.

How would you manage Andrus’ playing time for the rest of the season, AN? Sound off below!

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