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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Sources: Isiah Kiner-Falefa to replace mainstay Elvis Andrus as starting Rangers shortstop next season

As the Rangers move toward the future, they first must clear away the underbrush of the past. And so, Elvis Andrus’ time as starting shortstop, which lasted more than a decade, included a pair of AL championships but no Gold Gloves and only two above-average offensive seasons, is over.

In a move that will have a long-range domino effect on multiple spots around the infield, four sources said Isiah Kiner-Falefa will pack up the Gold Glove he won at third base in 2020 and move to shortstop. The move creates a clear path for top prospect Josh Jung to reach the majors before the end of the 2021 season. The Rangers would likely add a free agent third baseman on a one-year contract as they did in each of the past two years until Jung is ready.

Kiner-Falefa would then have a year at short to prove he can produce enough at a position that has become much more robust offensively throughout the league. If he can’t, the Rangers could dive into what may be the strongest free agent class of shortstops ever after the 2021 season.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 01, 2020 at 03:40 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: elvis andrus, isiah kiner-falefa, rangers

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   1. Zonk Opposes Trial by Combat Posted: December 01, 2020 at 05:38 PM (#5991910)
One of my favorite OOTP spare parts because he can catch, too!
   2. Rally Posted: December 01, 2020 at 06:07 PM (#5991921)
I wonder if Elvis is a bench player now, or if he'll displace Odor at second. Both were awful last year, and both are under contract through 2022.
   3. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 01, 2020 at 06:29 PM (#5991929)
he'll displace Odor at second. Both were awful last year


Would it be fair to say that Odor stunk last year? boom-tish!...yeah I'm available for all weddings and parties.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: December 01, 2020 at 06:44 PM (#5991932)
There's the question of whether we give a mulligan to the guys who stunk beyond expectation in 2020. Andrus was average in 2019 and 2018 and a bit above average for 2015-19. The 194 BA was thanks to a 200 BABIP -- 305 in 2019, 292 in 2018 and 308 for 2015-19. The defense does seem to be slipping and he missed time this year (did he opt out at some point?) so it's not rosy but there's a reasonable chance he's still average and a good chance he's a fringe starter (say 1.5 WAR). Nobody will want him at 2/$28 but he should be movable if they eat some money ... but still might prefer to keep him around as backup or, given their options, starting 2B.

For $120 M (minus whatever they saved in 2020), the Rangers got 13 WAR plus whatever he's got left. Close enough to break even.
   5. JRVJ Posted: December 01, 2020 at 07:33 PM (#5991943)
Mr. Kiner-Falefa has a pretty long, hyphenated game.

From what I found, one of the longest names I've seen on the back of a ballplayer (not the longest, but a pretty long one).
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 01, 2020 at 08:21 PM (#5991946)
I wonder if Elvis is a bench player now, or if he'll displace Odor at second.
Or maybe he’ll just leave the building.

I’m available for weddings and parties at 25% less than Hugh.
   7. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 01, 2020 at 09:10 PM (#5991951)
Elvis was sneakily putting together a potential HOF career for a while there. I guess you can say that about a lot of guys, but after his age-28 season, he had over 1,400 hits and had started to hit for some power. It wasn't a stretch to think he could finish with 3,000 hits and 400 steals which, even if he was low on WAR and hardware, would be pretty impressive for a SS. He had been very durable up to that point.

But now he's 32, has put up a 76 OPS+ in the last three seasons, and possibly played his way off of shortstop. So, yeah.
   8. BDC Posted: December 01, 2020 at 09:39 PM (#5991954)
Elvis was coming off two strong offensive years, batting .327, when a pitch broke his elbow in April 2018. He has never recovered as a hitter. Maybe he was due to decline anyway, but the injury marks a watershed in his career.

Elvis was at a 78 OPS+ in 2018-19 after his injury, pretty blah even for a SS. Kiner-Falefa is at 77 for three partial big-league seasons. He is a good athlete but unlikely to be an upgrade even over Elvis in decline.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: December 01, 2020 at 11:09 PM (#5991965)
I’m available for weddings and parties at 25% less than Hugh.

Careful mate, Hugh's prices are Australian $.
   10. Rally Posted: December 02, 2020 at 08:29 AM (#5991987)
Elvis was sneakily putting together a potential HOF career for a while there. I guess you can say that about a lot of guys, but after his age-28 season, he had over 1,400 hits and had started to hit for some power. It wasn't a stretch to think he could finish with 3,000 hits and 400 steals which, even if he was low on WAR and hardware, would be pretty impressive for a SS. He had been very durable up to that point.


Durable players who got early starts to their careers. Good players but who nobody would argue were great, and at some point mid career looked like threats to reach 3000 hits.

Edgar Renteria
Johnny Damon
Nick Markakis
Garret Anderson
Harold Baines
Al Oliver
Bill Buckner

Most of them fall off because not being truly great, if they lose a bit in their 30s they don't fall from great to good or average, they fall from good to not good. The only player of this ilk to actually make it to 3000 hits was Lou Brock.
   11. sunday silence (again) Posted: December 02, 2020 at 09:03 AM (#5991994)
It depends on how you define "not great." I think we thought of Brock as great. what about Boggs with 57 WAR? I guess I thought he was great.
   12. Ron J Posted: December 02, 2020 at 09:15 AM (#5991996)
#11 I know I never thought of Brock as great while he was active. Good for a long time? Sure.
   13. Rally Posted: December 02, 2020 at 09:42 AM (#5992003)
Not sure what you meant by Boggs at 57 WAR. So I looked at his career to see when he had 57. When he left the Red Sox? nope. Through age 30? nope. He passed 57 some point in the middle of the 1989 season.

Then I saw 57 in the column for wins above average. That is most certainly great.

#24 all time, right between Eddie Mathews and Roberto Clemente.
   14. Mike Webber Posted: December 02, 2020 at 10:42 AM (#5992025)
@ 12 - I'm not old enough to remember Lou Brock as "World Series Hero" Lou Brock. Are you old enough Ron? Because I think that might be a part of it. World Series Hero + Greatest Base Stealer Ever + no SABRmetrics + 3000 hits = Great. Or maybe you are a Cub fan...
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 02, 2020 at 10:58 AM (#5992030)
Most hits at the conclusion of their age-28 season, by post-1950 hitters that haven't reached 3,000 hits (and what they ended with)

Vada Pinson 1,746 (2,757)
Miggy Cabrera 1,597 (2,856, still active)
Edgar Renteria 1,595 (2,327)
Mickey Mantle 1,537 (2,415)
Roberto Alomar 1,522 (2,724)
Frank Robinson 1,501 (2,943)
Carl Crawford 1,480 (1,931)
Ivan Rodriguez 1,459 (2,844)
Elvis Andrus 1,457 (1,743, still active)
Starlin Castro 1,445 (1,633, still active)
Ron Santo 1,426 (2,254)
Orlando Cepeda 1,423 (2,351)
Ted Simmons 1,426 (2,472)
Cesar Cedeno 1,422 (2,087)
Ruben Sierra 1,421 (2,152)
Jose Altuve 1,419 (1,610, still active)
Andruw Jones 1,408 (1,933)

Mike Trout just finished his age-28 season and has 1,380 hits.
   16. Ron J Posted: December 02, 2020 at 11:20 AM (#5992036)
Yes. I only started to follow baseball fairly closely in 1969 but was aware of Brock's WS play from newsreels (if that doesn't date me ...)

Thing is that at 13 I didn't know what OBP was but I did notice that his Strat cards never had a lot of HR and had more outs than I liked for people batting in front of the power hitters.

There were always better cards at the position. It was easy to see that he was second tier.
   17. Mike Webber Posted: December 02, 2020 at 01:30 PM (#5992064)
Thing is that at 13 I didn't know what OBP was but I did notice that his Strat cards never had a lot of HR and had more outs than I liked for people batting in front of the power hitters.


Which is basically Sabrmetrics!

See that makes perfect sense as to why you thought "meh". Most people don't have that in their baseball knowledge tool box.
   18. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: December 02, 2020 at 04:19 PM (#5992094)
I've always had an irrational sports hate for IKF and really IDK why. Perhaps because it takes so much effort so say his name for such little baseball payoff, or "How can you say 'meh' in eight syllables?" If there was ever another player who should have been named "Ed Ott," surely it was Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: December 02, 2020 at 05:48 PM (#5992117)
The only player of this ilk to actually make it to 3000 hits was Lou Brock.

Sorta Beltre. He did it by becoming a much better hitter in his 30s though. He would have kept playing for his glove anyway of course but probably would have fell short of 3,000 hits without the massive improvement as a hitter.

Beltre 19-30: 270 BA, 1700 hits
Beltre 31+: 307 BA, 1466 hits

If he'd gotten the same PT (same ABs) and just maintained that 270 BA, he'd have gotten 1,291 hits and I'm pretty sure he'd have hung on for the extra 9. Had he gone the usual route of a declining BA in his 30s, he probably ends up around 2800 or something.

Yes calm down, I already mentioned the glove which is a way of also acknowledging that he had 45 WAR at a 4.3/650 pace through age 30 and was therefore a very good player who might well have ended up with a HoF career anyway and therefore better than some of the guys in 15. (Through age 28, 1433 hits, between Castro and Santo.)
   20. bfan Posted: December 03, 2020 at 12:28 PM (#5992255)
So looks like Castro and Andrus may challenge Crawford for the "who let the air out quickest" award. Man o man, he was a star in Tampa, and then came Boston. Did anyone notice Crawford was a 50+ per year base stealer who ended up at 230 pounds?
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 03, 2020 at 01:27 PM (#5992265)

So looks like Castro and Andrus may challenge Crawford for the "who let the air out quickest" award.


Andruw Jones only had 500 hits after age 28! If he has just a decent career after that point he's a slam-dunk HOFer.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 03, 2020 at 02:01 PM (#5992272)
Andruw Jones only had 500 hits after age 28!
The inescapable conclusion here is that having a name that starts with "Andru" is terrible for one's aging curve.
   23. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: December 03, 2020 at 04:22 PM (#5992308)
The inescapable conclusion here is that having a name that starts with "Andru" is terrible for one's aging curve.

Counterpoint: Zenon Andrusyshyn kicked and punted in the NFL, USFL, and CFL through his age-39 season.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2020 at 09:56 PM (#5992525)
We may be exaggerating the extent of Mr. Andrus's demise. It's a really bad two months during a pandemic. Average in 2019, above-average in 2018. He could step into a starting SS role elsehwere (with some salary eaten) or the starting 2B job in Texas tomorrow. This might be the start of his Renteria decline or maybe he carries on in Templeton-esque sub-cromulent style for 1800 PAs (400 hits) or maybe (least likely) he has another couple of good seasons in him and carries on in Concepcion fashion for another 4000 PAs (1,000 hits). Alex Gonzalez was done at 33 while Alex Gonzalez lasted until 37.

But he was never in Crawford's category anyway. Andrus has cracked a 300 BA only once and has a career BA of just 274. Through 28, Crawford had 5 seasons over 300, a 296 career. Andrus was close in hits through 28 but only thanks to a 500 PA edge.

As the list in 15 makes pretty clear, Vada Pinson is the leader in this category. He had already declined a bit by 28 even. He wasn't re-writing record books but 302/349/485, 124 OPS+, 1381 hits through 26, 40 WAR in <5000 PA, coming off a 5 WAR season. Then 5400 PA of mediocrity over 10 years. It took him about 500 more PA to get the same number of hits, just 14 more WAR.
   25. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: December 04, 2020 at 10:10 PM (#5992528)
Durable players who got early starts to their careers. Good players but who nobody would argue were great, and at some point mid career looked like threats to reach 3000 hits.

Edgar Renteria
Johnny Damon
Nick Markakis
Garret Anderson
Harold Baines
Al Oliver
Bill Buckner


I mean, somebody thought Harold Baines was great.
   26. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: December 04, 2020 at 10:12 PM (#5992529)
But he was never in Crawford's category anyway. Andrus has cracked a 300 BA only once and has a career BA of just 274. Through 28, Crawford had 5 seasons over 300, a 296 career. Andrus was close in hits through 28 but only thanks to a 500 PA edge.


I don't know about that. A lot of Crawford's value was tied up in defensive metrics that have basically negative value. Yeah, he was a better hitter, but he was also a LF. They're very much in the same neighborhood.

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