At this time of year, countless MLB players hit waivers, are claimed by teams and pulled back off waivers without anyone outside of the organizations involved ever knowing about it.
However, when a player clears waivers and becomes eligible to be traded, that news does reach the masses. An interesting name has popped up as eligible to be moved in the days ahead: Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.
Signed to an eight-year, $120 million extension in the offseason, it appeared as though the Rangers viewed the shortstop as a key part of their core moving forward.
But with Ian Kinsler and top prospect Jurickson Profar also in the mix, they do have a surplus of middle infielders.
According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, there is no indication that the Rangers intend to move Andrus, as this may simply be a matter of August protocol. That said, it's not out of the realm of possibility given the fact that he could be viewed as expendable.
An everyday big leaguer at the age of 20 back in 2009, Andrus has been an elite fielder since he first broke into the league.
Will Elvis Andrus be traded?
His offensive game steadily improved as well, setting career highs across the board last year with a .286/.349/.378 line that included 43 extra-base hits and 21 stolen bases.
He's taken a step back at the plate this year, though, with a .255/.317/.306 line entering play on Thursday.
That may be at least part of the reason why the Rangers could be looking to move him and get out from under that extension.
Still just 24 years old, Andrus has the potential to be an elite shortstop and his extension doesn't kick in until 2015. According to Spotrac.com, he'll make $6.475 million next year, then $15 million annually through 2020 and $14 million in 2021 and 2022.
Shortstop remains a premium position in the MLB, and if he is in fact available, there are a few teams that could look to add him to the mix for their stretch run and long-term.
Here is a look at three potential suitors and what they may be willing to give up to acquire Andrus.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are the clear leading candidate to make a play for Andrus, as they have needed an upgrade at shortstop all season and have no real option at the position looking to the future.
Rookie Pete Kozma has seen everyday at-bats for lack of a better option, and while he held his own over the first two months with a .263/.321/.327 line, he's fallen off significantly since. The 25-year-old has hit just .191/.229/.246 since the start of June, and for a team looking to win it all, that simply doesn't cut it.
With a wealth of young pitching talent, the Cardinals could offer up a package built around the electric arm of Carlos Martinez and a couple of other mid-level prospects.
That would likely be enough of a return for the Rangers to take on a portion of Andrus' salary.
With Derek Jeter again sidelined and having played just five total games this season, one can't help but think that Father Time is starting to catch up with the 39-year-old legend.
Eduardo Nunez has filled in for him, but has hit an uninspiring .229/.286/.319 over 188 at-bats.
With a core of stars on the decline, adding some young blood like Andrus certainly wouldn't hurt the Yankees' cause moving forward.
Even if Jeter comes back healthy next year, his defense is below average and—for the sake of his health—he may be best suited spending the majority of his time at DH.
Given the fact that his high salary doesn't kick in until next season, picking up Andrus wouldn't hurt the Yankees' chances of re-signing Robinson Cano. If they're open to the idea of taking on the bulk of Andrus' salary, it likely wouldn't take much to acquire him.
First off, this deal would hinge on Hanley Ramirez being open to moving to third base—something he did not exactly welcome with open arms when the Miami Marlins added Jose Reyes a year ago.
That said, if he did agree to the idea, adding Andrus would allow the team to move Juan Uribe to the bench and improve the infield defense as a whole.
It would also provide the team with a plus shortstop option moving forward while they await the arrival of top prospect Corey Seager, at which time Andrus could slide over to second base or vice versa.
A swap of long-term deals at log-jammed positions could make sense here, with Andre Ethier moving to the Rangers along with either a prospect or some cash. That's provided Matt Kemp is ready to return soon and step in for Ethier.