It is easy to consider Elvis Andrus as Marcus Semien‘s replacement on the Oakland A’s. After all, the A’s acquired their latest shortstop once Semien signed a one year deal to head to Toronto. He does fill that spot in the lineup, serving as a bridge between Semien and whoever the heir to the position will be.
But Semien will be missed for more than what he meant to the A’s lineup. He was one of their leaders, taking it upon himself to make certain that the team followed COVID restrictions last season. Semien was also a leader off the field with his charitable work and dedication to the city.
Elvis Andrus looking to fill leadership void
While he has not been with the A’s for long, Andrus is the greybeard of the position players on the 40 man roster. At 31 years old, and with 12 years of major league experience, he has been through it all. Andrus was also a part of the two Rangers’ squads that reached the World Series, providing the knowledge of what it takes to advance in October.
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He has already begun embracing his spot as one of the elder statesmen on the roster. Players have been approaching him with questions, notably Ramon Laureano and Matt Chapman, as they have been working to pick his brain about his abilities as a baserunner and stealing bases. For Laureano in particular, adding more skill on the basepaths will help as he looks to ascend to stardom.
Andrus has had a solid career thus far. A two time All Star, he has posted a .274/.330/.372 batting line with 303 doubles and 305 steals in his dozen years in the majors. However, like most of the A’s hitters, he is looking to bounce back from a rough 2020 as well, as he produced a miserable .194/.252/.330 batting line with three homers and five doubles in his 111 plate appearances.
Perhaps a new beginning will make a difference. It may have been time for Andrus to move on, even had he not been displaced from the Rangers’ lineup. Andrus had struggled for the past few years, and coming to Oakland could make a difference.
As it is, Elvis Andrus is embracing his chance to be a leader for the Oakland A’s. He will need to fill a large void, both on the field and in the locker room.