<
>

Examining the recruitment of Shin-Soo Choo

3/14/2014

Editor's note: This is the second in a two-part series about how the Texas Rangers acquired Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers made a big move in November trading for Prince Fielder. And, of course, there would be major ripple effects.

The deal came together so quickly that the Rangers didn't get a chance to inform Ian Kinsler that he was leaving the team that drafted and developed him before Twitter was abuzz with the news.

General manager Jon Daniels closed the deal just before boarding a plane, but it required MLB approval. As is chronicled in an ESPN The Magazine story on Kinsler, the second baseman found out via text after news broke through social media. Daniels was 30,000 feet in the air, and before he could power on his Wi-Fi the blockbuster was national news.

Daniels said he emailed assistant general manager Thad Levine and told him to try to reach Kinsler or his agent, Jay Franklin. Daniels didn't want to inform Kinsler before the deal, knowing that if rumors or chatter leaked it could scuttle the deal. The Tigers weren't on Kinsler's no-trade list, so the Rangers didn't need to call him or his agent before making a trade official.

"That was the biggest regret for me in that trade is that we weren't able to communicate with Ian in a professional manner the way he deserved," Levine said in February.

Levine did reach Franklin, and Daniels left a voice mail for Kinsler as soon as he landed. But word was already out and the deal was done. And Kinsler never returned the GM's call.

The trade gave Texas a legitimate power hitter with a patient approach at the plate that the club desired. But Fielder was a middle-of-the-order hitter. The Rangers still needed a tone-setter at the top of the lineup. They had Leonys Martin as an option, but he had limited experience and the Rangers were looking for a veteran presence.

Daniels and agent Scott Boras had talked at the general managers meetings in Orlando, Fla., in November and the club made it clear the Rangers had interest in leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo.

"I looked at their lineup and knowing that Prince was there and joked that we could have the 'Fearsome Foursome' in baseball," said Boras, referring to the expected top four of Choo, Elvis Andrus, Fielder and Adrian Beltre, who are all Boras clients. "We ran the numbers and we gave them a book, but they knew most of that anyway. It just made so much sense. Choo liked the area and felt for his family it was a good place."

A face-to-face meeting was the logical next step.

For details on that meeting, click here.