Texas Rangers trades: Shin-Soo Choo and Wandy Rodriguez could be on the move at some point, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Wandy Rodriguez is under contract, per Rosenthal, at the major league minimum plus a potential $1.8 million in performance bonuses, which makes him an affordable option for a team looking for cheap rotation help. Of course, he's also Wandy Rodriguez, and has struggled of late, which means that if the Rangers were to move him, they probably aren't getting much back in return. But with Matt Harrison back in the rotation and starting for Texas on Wednesday, Martin Perez returning after the All Star Break, Derek Holland on track to return in early August, and Nick Martinez and Chi Chi Gonzalez currently in AAA, the Rangers may feel like Wandy is expendable, particularly if they continue their recent slide.
The Shin-Soo Choo situation is more difficult, and Rosenthal suggests that this offseason may be the time for Choo to be moved, rather than now. The guy who was supposed to give the Rangers great on base skills at the top of their lineup and solid defense in right field has instead turned into a more expensive (Choo is owed $102M from 2016-2020) version of Andre Ethier. As Rosenthal points out, Choo continues to be productive against righthanders -- he has an 854 OPS against them, compared to a 481 OPS against lefties -- but the Rangers are already heavy with lefthanded hitters, and Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Nick Williams are all lefthanded hitters as well. The last thing the Rangers really need at this point is a COF/DH type who can't hit lefties.
Rosenthal is pretty plugged in with the Rangers' front office, and if he's talking about Choo potentially being moved this offseason, it isn't unreasonable to believe that that is something the Rangers will at least be looking at. If the Rangers were to simply give Choo away this offseason, I'm thinking they'd have to eat at least $50M of what is due to him, but we're getting to the point where that may be more palatable than hanging onto him, particularly if Josh Hamilton can stay healthy and you think that Gallo and Mazara will be ready in the next twelves months.
I've talked about this before, but I think the Rangers saw Choo as the Adrian Beltre situation all over again -- an underrated player who got high grades for makeup and work ethic, who they thought would age well. Instead, Choo hasn't been able to stay healthy, has been almost comically bad at times in right field, and hasn't been able to hit lefties to save his life.
While Wandy is the guy most likely to go in the immediate future, Choo is, as Rosenthal notes, the guy who the Rangers are in a position of needing to move because he simply isn't a good fit, given the makeup of the roster and the players on the cusp of the majors. Or Moyal asked on Twitter recently if the Rangers would have signed Choo if they'd known Mazara would be this good this quickly. The development of Mazara, together with the return of Josh Hamilton, has made Choo superfluous, and we're probably at a point where both player and team may be better off parting ways this offseason.