By Eddie Middlebrook and Dan Allsup
What can we possibly tell the public that they already don’t know?
This is the question that ran a marathon through my mind as I sat on a cold, metal fold-out chair across from another empty chair of the same ilk in a hypothetical climate-controlled room. I carefully look over my mundane interview questions when suddenly, apathy began to set in. What new knowledge could this interview bring to the surface? Why discuss something that has been discussed at length countless times before? Why am I talking out loud to myself in an empty room? Am I crazy?
Before I could definitively answer that last question, in walks a tall, slender man with a patchy red beard. He sports a retro Rolling Stones shirt with wrinkled khaki shorts and Passan flip-flops. Instantly, I feel over dressed as I was under the assumption that we would conduct this interview in business casual attire, but I notice that this Dan character isn’t fazed by the wardrobe miscommunication and sits in the chair across from me. We exchanged pleasantries and then I proceed with the interview.
Why trade Elvis now?
Dan: Elvis? I thought we were going to talk about RG3?
Elvis represents a lot of things for the Rangers: Gold Glove Shortstop, young superstar, top of the order threat and of course a smile that makes Tom Verducci blush. He's a very valuable commodity, and he also represents an enormous trade chip that the Rangers could throw onto the table. The only reason Elvis is expendable this early is because of younger, cheaper and possibly better option at shortstop - Jurickson Profar.
The Rangers' insistence of keeping Ian Kinsler at 2B - either block Profar for two years in AAA, or paves the road towards a cataclysmic event known as Trade Elvis Andrus.
This is where fans get upset and/or emotional.
Dear fans, please don't confuse trading Elvis with thinking he's no good. In fact it’s the exact opposite. Elvis is so good the Rangers should maximize his value, and with Profar hanging around, his max value is definitely a trade.
People who know stuff about baseball, numbers and projections (Fangraphs'- Dan Szymborski) actually project Profar to exceed Andrus in WAR next year: 3.2 to 3.0. This information lends me to think that Texas would incur a major loss if Profar replaced Andrus in 2013.
I had a feeling Dan would give long-winded answers, so thankfully I brought my recorder to this parley. Dan was able to ramble off this response all the while he was staring long into the painting of a snowy-white feline playing with a ball of pink yarn.
I crossed my legs, tapped my Bic pen on my legal pad, and hung on his every word.
So Dan, what kind of package would you expect the Rangers to receive for Elvis?
Dan: There are many factors: First you have to find a desperate team (see: Shuerholtz, Braves). Teams become very desperate at the trade deadline and when injuries arise. Right now, teams are getting close to Spring Training, which means eternal optimism, until reality puts them in last place. That's why I don't think Andrus has been moved yet, because the right team isn't desperate yet. While I don't think it's practical to trade a superstar of Andrus’ caliber mid-season, it could happen, depending on who’s desperate, and what they have.
I think a return for Elvis could actually be similar to the famed "Teixeira Trade", and by that I mean wild value. Recent history suggests prospects' value is being lowered (more reason to trade Elvis, not Profar). I think a return could be in the neighborhood of four to five guys with the top two guys being centerpieces. Yes, double-centerpieces, I said it.
The double-center pieces could be top echelon prospects (overall top 30-40) or one young major league guy, and another top prospect.
Then add another three valuable/meaningful pieces. As for who the double-centerpieces could be:
Dodgers- Yasiel Puig, Zach Lee
Cardinals- Oscar Taveras, Shelby Miller (St. Louis has numerous options, very strong system)
Red Sox- Xander Bogearts, Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Tigers- Rick Porcello, Nick Castellaons
Reds- Devin Mesoraco, Billy Hamilton
Those teams seem like the best fits. Fans of those opposing teams probably aren't thrilled about giving up those guys, but you have to look at the market. One year of RA Dickey, (plus a negotiating window), netted double centerpieces (Travis D'Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard).
Dan’s idea of double centerpieces make me instantly think of an over-the-top dinner setting, but I shake the thought and return to his point. The idea of getting a “Teixeira-type” trade has my mind riding a unicorn on a colorful rainbow akin to some acid trip from the 60s.
Final question Dan: What is the likelihood of Elvis not playing in Arlington this season?
Dan: I say Elvis will play in Arlington this year. I think the earliest a deal gets done would be the trade deadline this year. JD has been playing the Elvis trade card, completely opposite of how Arizona has been dealing with Upton, because a vetoed deal only makes matters worse. The Rangers seem to let guys play out their deals (CJ Wilson, Josh Hamilton) being the most recent examples. However if the Rangers had an ample replacement (Profar) waiting in the wings to replace Hamilton last winter, it makes me wonder what would've happened.
I believe Texas is definitely getting calls on Elvis beyond Arizona wanting to get rid of Upton. However, as close as the Rangers play it to the vest, a deal tomorrow with the Dodgers would not surprise me in the least.
Eddie, thanks for your time, thanks for being dressed, but mostly thanks for understanding the Elvis Andrus Trade Manifesto.
And with that, Dan disappears into the dark abyss known as the hallway, never to be seen again.
***Beep, beep, beep*** I hit my alarm, rub the sleep from my eyes and begrudgingly climb out of bed.