The Texas Rangers are going to do one thing really well in 2021: Mash. The team pulled off a surprising trade Saturday, shipping Elvis Andrus to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for slugger Khris Davis, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The move gives the Rangers a formidable power duo in the middle of the lineup. Davis, 33, will pair with slugger Joey Gallo to strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers. Over his career, Davis has hit 40+ home runs in a season three times. Gallo has achieved that feat twice.
While popping 40+ home runs a season is valuable, it comes with a price. Both Davis and Gallo typically post poor batting averages due to putting so many balls in the air. They also strike out quite a bit. Davis owns a career 26.7 percent strikeout rate. Gallo’s career strikeout rate is 37.6 percent. The league average strikeout rate last season was 23.4 percent. Despite their propensity to swing and miss, both players have strong plate discipline skills and typically post above-average walk rates.
In limited action, Davis hit .200/.303/.329, with 2 home runs, in 30 games last season. Davis is under contract through the 2021 season. He’ll make $16.7 million this year.
The Rangers will also receive catcher Jonah Heim and right-handed pitcher Dane Acker in the deal, according to Rosenthal. Heim, 25, ranked as the Athletics’ No. 24 prospect going into last season, according to Baseball America.
Rangers part ways with franchise icon Elvis Andrus
In exchange for Davis, the Rangers are losing a franchise mainstay. Andrus, 32, will leave the Rangers after spending 12 seasons with the franchise.
Andrus turned in some strong seasons early in his career, but has seen some decline over the last three seasons. Since 2018, Andrus has a .260/.306/.378 slash line. Despite his struggles at the plate, Andrus has remained a strong defensive player.
While losing Andrus may hurt for some Rangers fans, the writing was on the wall for the two-time All Star. In December, the Rangers announced utility man Isiah Kiner-Falefa would take over as the team’s primary shortstop. Andrus was either getting pushed to another position, or would have to accept a bench role had he stayed with the Rangers. Realizing that, Andrus — who could have vetoed the deal — decided to take a full-time role in Oakland.
With the Athletics, Andrus will serve as a solid replacement for Marcus Semien, who left the Athletics for the Toronto Blue Jays in free agency. The Rangers will send $13.5 million to the A’s to cover nearly all of Andrus’ salary in 2021. Andrus is also under contract in 2022, and will make $14 million that season. Andrus also has a $15 million club option for 2023. That can change to a player option depending on how many plate appearances Andrus receives in 2021 and 2022, according to Rosenthal.
Andrus hit .194/.252/.330 over 29 games last season.
The Athletics will also receive catcher Aramís García as part of the deal, according to Rosenthal.
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