Andrus batted .333 (6-for-18) with three walks, a run scored and one stolen base over nine spring games. Although he provided value in steals (31) in 2019, Andrus was put on notice late in the season. He posted respectable numbers at shortstop -- 12 home runs, 72 RBI -- but Rangers general manager Jon Daniels felt the shortstop was capable of more than a .706 OPS. While the GM mentioned having competition at shortstop during spring training, that never materialized and Andrus returns to the spot at which he's called home the last 11 years in a Rangers uniform. The 20-homer campaign of 2017 looks like an outlier, but the Rangers are looking for more potency in the bat.
Andrus made his Cactus League debut Tuesday, going 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts in a game against the Royals. Andrus was the last of the Rangers' regulars to appear in a spring game. He's coming off a pair of mediocre seasons, and the 31-year-old shortstop needs to change the narrative in 2020. There isn't an in-house candidate ready to step in to replace Andrus, but the Rangers have noted his drop in production.
Andrus has been taking extra work in live batting practice sessions and the indoor cages, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. Andrus has not yet played a spring game, but there is no injury involved. "I'll play," Andrus said. "Not now but I will get the at-bats that I need to get ready. I'm working hard in the cage on some things I want to do offensively. As soon as I get that done I will play." Texas' starting shortstop was put on notice during the offseason by general manager Jon Daniels after a down season in 2019.
Andrus showed up at a team event Friday about 10 pounds lighter than when the 2019 season ended, Sam Blum of the Dallas Morning News reports. Andrus, who is entering his 12th year in the Rangers' organization, said he plans to shed at least another five pounds before training camp opens. He's coming off an unproductive season with a .706 OPS in 147 games. Texas general manager Jon Daniels made both Andrus and second baseman Rougned Odor aware of the team's displeasure with their results last year, per Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News. "We've been real clear with both guys," Daniels said. "Their position with the club is different from what it's been." The message to Andrus was to show up in better shape and be committed to the long grind of the baseball season. While there is not a ready option to take over at shortstop, Rangers manager Chris Woodward could drop Andrus in the batting order.
Andrus is not expected to opt out of the final three years and $43 million remaining on his contract with the Rangers, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports. The 31-year-old was productive last season with the Rangers, recording a .706 OPS with 72 RBI and 31 stolen bases, though he was inconsistent at times and seemed to draw the ire of the coaching staff on occasion, to the point where he may have to earn his starting role in spring. Although he doesn't have elite power numbers, Andrus should still carry fantasy value in 2020 thanks to his speed and ability to produce runs.
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