COMMENTARY | Elvis Andrus is a fan favorite. No matter whom you talk to around The Ballpark in Arlington, they'll tell you Andrus is one of the most exciting shortstops this team has had in recent memory, and they want him in a Texas Rangers uniform for a long time.
The only problem is Andrus is represented by Scott Boras, a guy who doesn't like seeing his clients sign long-term extensions with their current ballclubs. In fact, he'll encourage them to wait and find their value in the open market as a free agent.
Unless your name is Jered Weaver, of course, but guys like that are few and far between.
Behind Andrus is the top prospect in the Rangers' system, and a guy who's been getting a lot of hype over the last few years -- Jurickson Profar. There's a reason general manager Jon Daniels refuses to trade the young shortstop, regardless of the deal that's been put in front of him.
Recently, Daniels was on MLB Network Radio and admitted they would love to sign Andrus to an extension but admitted it might be a long shot. Daniels added, "Andrus will have to come to us and say he doesn't want to be the highest paid at his position."
As much as this team loves Profar and his potential with the Rangers long term, they also know what Andrus can do because of how he performed during the 2012 season.
The other name getting a lot of talk, mostly in the rumor mills, is third baseman Mike Olt. Currently blocked by star infielder Adrian Beltre, the Rangers have shown an unwillingness to trade the young prospect, even though there have been several rumored deals with him included since the trade deadline this past July.
Whether or not Elvis Andrus wants a long-term future with the Texas Rangers, the front office knows that even if he's willing to move on and look for the bigger, better deal, they have another talented infielder ready to take over the reigns.
Is Andrus looking over his shoulder? Is he feeling a little bit of heat from a young man whom most think is ready for the big leagues right now?
Texas tried to talk Ian Kinsler into moving to first base to allow Profar to take over at second for the time being, giving the Rangers the best double-play combo in baseball. It seemed as if Kinsler was more than willing to make whatever move the team wanted him to make. That was until a few weeks ago when Kinsler made it known he was not willing to move from his current position.
Some say he may have begun to feel what former longtime Texas Rangers infielder Michael Young was feeling when he continued to move positions for another young, up-and-coming infielder. Could that have spooked him into changing his opinion?
Olt and Profar will get their chances to show what they can do when they report to spring training -- assuming both spend time with the big-league camp the entire way through -- until the club begins to make roster moves to get down to their 25-man roster for the beginning of the season.
The two young prospects are expected to begin the 2013 season in Triple-A Round Rock, but there has been a lot of talk as to just how long both will remain there.
Have they done all they can do in the minor leagues? Is it time to bring them up and give them a much bigger challenge?
Jon Daniels was asked that question a few months ago and was very clear about his answer. If Olt and Profar were to be called up, it would not be for bench positions. The Rangers want both of these young prospects to play every day.
The future of Elvis Andrus, at this moment, seems to be more in question than the future of both Profar and Olt, who are both ready to begin their big-league careers.
If Andrus wants to stay, he'll make it clear to the front office and a deal will more than likely come to fruition. But, if he believes his agent, there might be a bigger deal for him to accept and the Rangers may have no other choice but to quietly shop him to get the best deal possible.
Those rumors have made the rounds since this past July. Most thought Texas would put a big trade deal together, with Andrus being the headline piece, for a top-of-the rotation pitcher. Since it seems like that deal isn't going to happen, at least not this winter, will Daniels and the front office change their minds in July or even next offseason?
If Olt and Profar are as good as the Rangers believe they are, maybe a trade involving Elvis Andrus is more likely than most would like to believe.
Players will say this just as much as each front office in baseball will say it: "This is a business." Trading Andrus isn't something that's personal -- it's business.
Texas Rangers fans are hungry for another shot at a World Series championship. They got run over the first time, and they were one pitch away, twice, from a title the second go-round.
A different feel has come over Arlington with the departure of Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Michael Young, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. Can a youth movement be the missing piece to a championship, and what part will Profar, Olt and Andrus play in it?
With spring training just a few weeks away, the answer to those questions may be closer than we think.
Todd Kaufmann lives in Arlington, Texas and has covered the Texas Rangers for Sports Page Weekly, a weekly publication in Dallas, Texas, as well as for Through the Fence Baseball where he is the voice of their Texas Rangers podcast.