Shin-Soo Choo An Attractive Option For Texas Rangers
After the acquisition of Prince Fielder, the Texas Rangers still have a few issues to address this winter. One of biggest questions that remain is the outfield situation for 2014. With Nelson Cruz possibly headed to another team via free agency, the Rangers currently have an outfield penciled in for next year that consists of Leonys Martin, Craig Gentry and Alex Rios. According to Drew Davidson, Assistant General Manager Thad Levine would love to add a bat either in the top or middle part of the lineup. While the Rangers have been strongly rumored to be heavily seeking free agent catcher Brian McCann, another name that could fit nicely with the squad is outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
Currently a free-agent, Choo is coming off a decent year with the Cincinnati Reds where he posted a slash line (Avg./ On-base percentage/ Slugging percentage) of .285/.423/.462. Choo would be a great fit for Texas as he is an on-base machine posting a career OBP of .389. He is a type of hitter that can aggravate an opposing pitcher through his patience. Last season, Choo ranked 8th in the MLB in pitches per plate appearance, averaging 4.23 pitches while the Rangers leader (Mitch Moreland) faced 4.13. Also Choo does add a bit of a power upgrade over Martin and Gentry and averages 18 home runs per season. However, both Gentry and Martin can run a little better than Choo so adding the aging outfielder will no doubt make the club a little less athletic.
One reason the Rangers may avoid signing the 31 year-old may be because he is a left-handed hitter. As of now the Rangers already have three lefties in their projected lineup for 2014 and adding another may make the team susceptible to opponent’s left-handed pitchers especially in late game situations.
Choo is a very attractive option for the Rangers if they decide that bringing back Nelson Cruz or acquiring Brian McCann may prove to be too expensive. The Rangers have already addressed two needs this offseason (making room for youngster Jurickson Profar and upgrading at first base) but don’t expect General Manager Jon Daniels to remain passive in upgrading his club. The next few months should prove to be an exciting time for the Rangers fan base.