ARLINGTON, Texas -- Having won the first two AL pennants in franchise history, the Texas Rangers want to keep their key players around for a while.
Slick-fielding shortstop Elvis Andrus and the Rangers finalized a $14.4 million, three-year contract Wednesday. The deal covers his three years of salary arbitration eligibility, and Texas would like to discuss an even longer agreement with agent Scott Boras.
"We have made no bones about the fact that we would like to sign some of our core players to extensions that do extend into free agency," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "Elvis is one of those types of guys. We hope he is a Texas Ranger for years to come."
Andrus gets a $750,000 signing bonus and salaries of $2,375,000 this year, $4.8 million in 2013 and $6,475,000 in 2014.
An arbitration hearing had been scheduled for Thursday. Andrus had asked for $3.6 million and was offered $2.65 million.
A key for him was financial security.
"It is something I was looking for, especially for my family ... at this point in my career, at this point in my life," Andrus said.
The 23-year-old hit a career-best .279 with 37 stolen bases last year, when he made $452,180. He was an All-Star in 2010.
"Elvis represents everything we want the Texas Rangers to be," Levine said. "He's a young upside player with a ton of energy, a ton of ability. He's been a huge part of our last two playoff runs. He fits in at the top of the order. He's the engine for our whole team, sets the table for the big boppers in the middle. He's been a huge part of the defense. We feel that just his energy and his enthusiasm really represents the personality of the club."
After twice coming within a strike of the World Series title in Game 6 last October, the Rangers finished with an empty feeling. There's work to do.
"I'm still learning every day ... especially the mental part of the game," Andrus said. "My best years are coming."