The A’s had a big hole in the middle of their defense. On Saturday, they made a big deal to fill that void.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus and catcher Aramis Garcia are headed to the A’s in exchange for designated hitter Khris Davis, two prospects — catcher Jonah Heim and right-hander Dane Acker — and $13.5 million, both teams announced. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report the trade between the two American League West teams.
Acquiring Andrus softens the blow of losing shortstop Marcus Semien, who signed a one-year, $18 million free-agent deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. The 32-year-old Andrus is a career .274 hitter, but brings less pop than Semien. Andrus has reached double digits in homers twice: 20 in 2017 and 12 in 2019. Semien, meanwhile, is a career .254 hitter with five straight seasons of 10 or more homers before hitting seven the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Andrus is owed $28 million over the next two seasons, the final two of an eight-year, $120 million contract. A $15 million vesting option for 2023 if he reaches 550 plate appearances,
according to reports.
Garcia, a second-round draft pick of the Giants in 2014, is not among the Rangers’ top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. The 28-year-old, picked up off waivers from the Giants in
November, made his major-league debut in 2018 and played 37 games with the Giants in 2018- 19. Garcia hit .229 with six homers in 105 at-bats.
In dealing Davis, the A’s lose a fan favorite. Davis earned the nickname “Khrush” for his prodigious power, which was his only real contribution to the offense. After being acquired before the 2016 season from the Milwaukee Brewers, Davis hit 42, 43 and a career-high 48 homers over the next three seasons, also driving in more than 100 runs those years.
But Davis, who was a liability in left field due to a poor throwing arm, struggled the past two seasons, hitting .220 with 23 homers in 2019 and .200 with two homers in just 30 games in 2020. Davis also has a propensity to strike out, reaching 195 whiffs in 2017 and totaling 682 in four full seasons. One anomaly on Davis’ stat sheet: He hit exactly .247 for four straight seasons. Davis is owed $16.75 million this year and will become a free agent after the season.
The A’s are also sending Heim, their No. 2 catching prospect and No. 9 overall prospect, to the Rangers. The 25-year-old switch-hitter made his major-league debut with the A’s in 2020, appearing in 13 games and hitting .211 with no homers and five RBIs. Acker, a right-handed starter, was the A’s fourth-round draft choice in 2020 out of Oklahoma.