Speculation that Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus could be a trade target for the Cardinals is likely to come to an abrupt end.
According to Fox Sports, the Rangers are close to signing Andrus, 24, to an eight-year contract extension that would pay him $120 million over eight seasons.
Andrus has been thought to be available, despite Texas' insistence otherwise, because the franchise has another highly-touted shortstop in its system. Jurrickson Profar is the top-ranked prospect in major league baseball. He made his major-league debut last fall. But because there was no room in the big leagues for him to play regularly, Profar was shipped back to Class AAA at the end of spring training.
Entering his fifth season in the big leagues, Andrus is a .275 hitter who averages 33 stolen bases a season while playing excellent defense.
It's unclear where Profar will fit into the picture with the Rangers. Of his 300 games played in the minors, 274 have been at short, 25 at second base and one at third. Ian Kinsler, a .272 career hitter who averages more than 21 home runs a season, currently mans second base. But there is talk that the 30-year-old infielder could be moved to first base to make room for Profar at second. Kinsler has never played first base. He's played 905 games at second, 24 as designated hitter and one game at third base.
Andrus has been rumored as a possible option at short for the Cardinals because of the injury to Rafael Furcal's throwing arm that will keep him out of action for the entire 2013 season. His contract expires at the end of the year. Also linked to the Cardinals have been Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Cleveland infielder Asdrubal Cabrera.
But at least so far, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said the team is content to go with rookie shortstop Pete Kozma who made his big-league debut at the tail end of the 2012 season after Furcal was initially injured.