Father time can be a real SOB and it is catching up to the Rangers shortstop position once again. The Texas Rangers infield will look a little bit different in 2021, specifically at shortstop and third base. Just when the Rangers are wanting to play the young guys, Isiah Kiner-Falefa will slide over to short. This further proves that we will see a younger team take the field in 2021.
Evan Grant, of the Dallas Morning News, is the beat-writer who broke the news. Anyone remember the Michael Young situation? This bears a resemblance to that.
It seems like yesterday that Elvis Andrus made his MLB debut (April 6, 2009) when he went 1-4.
Elvis was limited this year dealing with his back strain. In 29 games, Andrus hit a line of .194/.252/.330/.582 at the plate. I don’t know how much stock I put in 29 games but it was enough to notice the slow-down, struggle.
Where does Elvis Andrus go?
According to the tweet from TR Sullivan with MLB.com, the Rangers plan to use Elvis as a super-utility infielder.
Jon Daniels said Isiah Kiner-Falefa will get an opportunity to be the everyday shortstop. Elvis Andrus is being asked to be a utility infielder, confirming @Evan_P_Grant report from the afternoon
— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) December 1, 2020
Elvis Andrus is under contract through 2022 with an option for 2023 that becomes guaranteed with 550 plate appearances in 2022 or a combined 1,100 plate appearances in ’21/’22. That likely won’t happen with today’s news unless there is an injury. Also, due to his service time, Elvis can block any trade that might be worked out.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa to shortstop
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 25, won the Rawlings Good Glove award at third base in 2020 and the Rangers are rewarding him by switching positions. He had a .957 fielding percentage at the hot corner.
Offensively, he had a 1.8 rWAR and batted a line of .280/.329/.370/.699 at the plate with 3 home runs and 10 RBI. Supposedly the Rangers will give him the year (2021) to prove his value at shortstop. He played a ton at shortstop in the minor-leagues. This year, he played 15 games and had a 1.000 fielding percentage. In 2019 he played two games with a .923 fielding percentage.
As much as I love Elvis and don’t want to witness a turnover at the position he’s manned for 12 years, it is necessary at this point.