The Oakland A’s are in a difficult spot with Elvis Andrus. It is no secret that they would love to move on from his contract, especially as they are looking to trade anyone making anything close to a larger salary. While a $6.5 million payout may not be much for most teams, it is quite the large sum for the A’s.
Likewise, Andrus has the opportunity to have a $15 million player option for the 2023 season. Originally a team option, it would revert to a player option if two things happened. First, he needed to be traded, which happened during the 2020-21 offseason. Second, he would need to reach 550 plate appearances in 2022.
Elvis Andrus needs to get off to hot start in 2022
In theory, that 550 plate appearance threshold would not be difficult to reach. Andrus had 541 plate appearances last season, but missed the end of the year due to a broken leg. He averaged 643 plate appearances a year from 2010 through 2019, and with the A’s not having another potential option on the current major league roster, Andrus is likely to approach that mark once again.
But that may not be the case. Andrus has not exactly impressed anyone with the bat recently. Last year was no exception, as he produced a meager .243/.294/.320 batting line with three homers and 25 doubles while stealing 12 bases. His defense was utterly atrocious as he cost the A’s ten runs at short.
There is also another option on the cusp of the majors. Nick Allen made his way to Triple-A last season and is ready for the majors defensively. While he made strides with the bat, he was overmatched in Las Vegas in 2021. Chances are, he will begin the season back in the minors with the A’s monitoring his production at the start of the season.
That makes the beginning of the 2022 season all the more important for Andrus. If he gets off to a slow start, and Allen hits the ground running, Andrus could find himself out of a starting role. Those 550 plate appearances, and a $15 million payday, could be out the window.
Elvis Andrus has a lot riding on his performance in 2022. A slow start to the season could cost him a $15 million payday in the following year.