Rangers to introduce Shin-Soo Choo
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo has passed his physical, and the Texas Rangers have called a news conference for Friday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to officially introduce their newest free-agent acquisition, sources confirmed Thursday night.
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By signing Choo, the Rangers add a productive bat and a player known for his ability to get on base to a lineup hoping for more consistent run scoring in 2014.
Sources told ESPN.com last week that the contract is worth around $130 million over seven years. A source also said the contract does not include an opt-out clause but does have limited no-trade language.
The Rangers will forfeit their 2014 first-round draft pick by signing Choo, but they will receive a compensatory pick if free agent Nelson Cruz signs elsewhere.
Choo was the top hitter left on the market after outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the New York Yankees and second baseman Robinson Cano signed the winter's richest deal, a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners.
Choo, 31, hit .285 with 21 homers, 54 RBIs, 20 stolen bases and 107 runs scored for the Cincinnati Reds in 2013, when he was one of the best leadoff hitters in the big leagues. His on-base percentage of .423 was the fourth-best in baseball and the fifth-highest by any lefty-hitting outfielder in the past decade.
Choo is a patient and disciplined hitter, something the Rangers and hitting coach Dave Magadan are stressing. He also fills a void in the outfield, allowing the Rangers to continue to let 24-year-old Michael Choice, acquired in a trade with the Oakland Athletics earlier this offseason, progress at his own pace.
Choo likely will be the Rangers' new leadoff hitter, although manager Ron Washington has plenty of time to set his lineup and Choo could bat in a variety of spots. Leonys Martin, the club's planned leadoff hitter after Ian Kinsler was traded to Detroit for Prince Fielder last month, struggled in winter ball and doesn't have Choo's experience. Choo could play right or left field, with Alex Rios filling the other corner outfield position.
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