Jon Daniels traded for Elvis Andrus. Over the years, he has believed in him and he has rewarded him.
On Friday, he challenged him.
"I think [competition] would be healthy," Daniels said of Andrus' role as the club's starting shortstop going into 2020. "Elvis has got to perform at a higher level. He's capable of more and we need more."
Make no mistake: The comment is an attempt to motivate Andrus. At 31, Andrus is finishing up a second consecutive disappointing season. He's certainly not the only Ranger to do so, but the team has either reduced the roles of those players or has openly discussed the possibility. In particular: Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor.
But Andrus entered Friday's series opener at Oakland with a lower OPS (.696) than either of them. Without an extra-base hit in September, he ranked 61st of 65 qualifiers in the AL. If he finishes below .700, it would be his fifth season to finish below that threshold and still get 600 plate appearances. He would be one of 18 players in the last 100 years to have that many seasons; most of the others were slick-fielding middle infielders of the 1960s and '70s. The middle infield positions were viewed differently.
Put it this way: The eight guys who had the chance to have more than five such seasons combined for 28 Gold Gloves at second base and shortstop.