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The A’s and Rangers have made a trade, and it’s a swap of notable names they each hope will benefit from a change of scenery.
Trades within the same division can be tricky, but don’t tell that to the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, outfielder Khris Davis, catcher Jonah Heim and pitcher Dane Acker will go from Oakland to Texas in exchange for shortstop Elvis Andrus, catcher Aramis Garcia and cash. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports the Rangers are sending $13.5 million in cash to Oakland.
The centerpieces of the deal are Davis and Andrus. After hitting 40 or more home runs in three straight seasons from 2016-18, Davis dropped to 23 homers in 2019 (533 plate appearances) and he hit just two in 30 games last season. He is entering the final year of his contract, and due to make $16.75 million.
Andrus’ 12-year run in Texas now comes to an end. He is the last tie to the Rangers’ World Series teams in 2010 and 2011. He has struggled in recent years, leading to a likely move to third base this year had he remained a Ranger. In Oakland, he’ll remain at shortstop and replace the departed Marcus Semien.
Andrus has two guaranteed years left on his contract, at $14 million per season, and with the trade a $15 mutual option for 2023 becomes a player option if he has 550 plate appearances in 2022 or 1,100 plate appearances in 2021 and 2022. Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Andrus is also getting an $800,000 assignment bonus as a result of the trade.
A’s and Rangers are both hoping for rebounds
Andrus hit just .194 last season in 29 games as back issues limited him. 2018 also wasn’t very good, with a .256 average and five steals in 97 games. But he showed he still has something left in 2019, when he hit .275 with 12 home runs, 72 RBI and 31 stolen bases.
Davis’ recent power decline is backed up by deeper metrics, so his 40-homer days are gone and 25-30 even looks like a tough bargain if he can stay in the lineup. But he’s got a good sampling of work on the road in Texas, even with a new ballpark last year to alter the equation just enough. In 36 career games at the Rangers’ previous home, Davis hit 19 home runs with an 1.150 OPS.
It’s surprising that the thrifty A’s took on multiple years of money attached to Andrus in the deal, but the Rangers are helping some there. In any case, two guys that probably needed a change of scenery are getting it.