Outside of the “Big 4” shortstops on the market this offseason, there aren’t many other enticing free agent options, but one to look out for, according to the Braves beat reporter for MLB.com, is Elvis Andrus.
Elvis Andrus is just one of multiple options for the Braves. He has a good relationship with Wash from their Texas days. What would it have paid in 2007 to bet Charlie Morton and Elvis Andrus would be part of the 2023 Braves?
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) December 7, 2022
Bowman does bring up a good point regarding Andrus and his relationship with Ron Washington from their Texas days. Andrus is also coming off one of his best seasons, posting 3.5 fWAR. He’s a good defensive shortstop that smashed 17 home runs in 149 games last season — the second most of his career. Andrus also has a knack for stealing bases, swiping 335 of them over his career. Although, those numbers have begun to decline with age, as he’s now 34 years old.
On a one-year deal, this wouldn’t be the worst direction for the Braves to go. Andrus is better than Arcia, and I’m still not sold on the idea of Vaughn Grissom playing shortstop every day at the major-league level just yet. This would allow the Braves to ease Grissom into things next season and also give them extra money to spend in other areas, like left field.
My worry with Andrus is whether last year is sustainable. Before 2022, he didn’t have an fWAR above 2.0 since 2017, and his Baseball Savant page is a clear blue ocean.
We’re all happy Georgia went blue last night but this seems like taking it to the extreme. pic.twitter.com/yQyBXizDvm
— Bennett Hipp (@BennettHipp) December 7, 2022
Andrus has only hit double-digit home runs three times in his career, so it’s a safe bet he won’t replicate what he did last year again in 2023.
Unfortunately, this is beginning to look as if it’s not a question of whether or not Andrus is the right option; it’s more like, is he the only option? If the Braves aren’t willing to meet Dansby Swanson’s price tag, it surely doesn’t seem like they are seriously in the market for Xander Bogaerts or Carlos Correa, either. We’ve talked about potential trade options — most notably, Willy Adames — but there’s no guarantee that the Brewers are eager to sell him with two years left on his contract. If that’s the case, the Braves really only have two options — trust who they have in the building or sign a bridge shortstop like Andrus.
Photo: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire