Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Ranger: the Rangers agree with Choo on a 7 year, $130 million contract while I am n the car on the way to Fort Worth. I'm going to try to knock out some quick thoughts on the iPad now, then do more analysis later.
- This was the rangers top target this offseason. This was Cliff Lee after 2010, Yu Darvish after 2011, Justin Upton (or Zack Greinke) after 2012. There were other players, notably Brian McCann, they liked and wanted, but Choo was the #1 guy Texas wanted this offseason, and they got him.
- The reason Choo was their top target? They needed another bat in the outfield, and the priority this offseason was to improve the team's plate discipline and OBP. Choo is a high-OBP outfielder who, along with a Prince Fielder, makes this team much less hacktastic than it was last year.
- I haven't seen whether Choo will hit lead off or hit 5th -- those seem to be the most likely landing spots for him, and either way is fine. As a guy who can both steal bases and hit homers, he would seem to be a natural replacement for the homer-hitting and base stealing Ian Kinsler in the leads off spot, but it remains to be seen if that will happen.
- A Rios/Leonys/Choo outfield would be a very nice defensive outfield, with arms that will make Tom Grieve swoon.
- I'm not convinced the Rangers are out in Nelson Cruz or Masahiro Tanaka. Ownership history has been they will spend money, and Cruz, in particular, seems like he might still fit at DH.
- Right now, either Mitch Moreland or Michael Choice would be the team's DH. My guess is that if Cruz signs, Moreland is dealt, and otherwise, Texas finds a Jeff Baker type RH bench bat to share the DH job with Moreland.
- The 2013 Texas Rangers won 91 games. This team, on paper, looks to be a few wins better than the guys who put up those 91 wins last year.
- I have my doubts about this deal looking good in 4 years. But it makes Texas better now, and after missing out the last two years, the front office appears committed to going big in 2014, rather than going home.