Jun 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo (17) celebrates with shortstop Zack Cozart (2) after hitting a lead off home run as Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski (12) looks on during the first inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers line up with Choo and more

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With the signing of Shin-Soo Choo, its easy to argue that Jon Daniels and the Texas Rangers have easily won the 2013 offseason.  Making his first big splash of the offseaon, Daniels started it off with the trade of Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder.  Then the next big move was the trade package that sent Craig Gentry to the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Michael Choice.

It appeared that Jon Daniels was done with any more major offseason moves.  He stated several times the Texas Rangers were not close on any deals.  But that’s part of the offseason game.   Jon Daniels wasn’t about to show his cards and let everyone know what he was trying to do to make this team better.  It was speculated that the Rangers would go after Nelson Cruz or Shin-Soo Choo to fill out their outfield.  And for 7 years and $130 million, the Texas Rangers answered any Rangers’ fans Christmas wish.

I’m only a little surprised that the signing happened.  It makes more sense to sign him than Cruz, but with Choice being picked up, it was a little doubtful they would do either.  Now with Choo the Texas Rangers have a solid offense and defense for the 2014 season.

Here is how I see the opening day line up.

  1. Shin-Soo Choo – LF
  2. Elvis Andrus – SS
  3. Adrian Beltre – 3b
  4. Prince Fielder – 1b
  5. Alex Rios – RF
  6. Mitch Moreland – DH
  7. Jurickson Profar – 2b
  8. Geovany Soto – C
  9. Leonys Martin – CF

Opening day pitcher – Yu Darvish

Why the line up they way it is?  First of all, I know that Ron Washington said a few time during the Prince Fielder conference that Leonys Martin will lead off.  Well, with Shin-Soo Choo now on board, that changes everything.  Last year Choo was 4th in on-base percentage and has a career on-base percentage of .389.   Martin did play well enough in 2013 for Washington to give him the nod to play in the number one slot, but having him in the number 9 slot is just as good.  The 9 spot sometimes is like playing the lead of spot.

With the tandem of Choo, Andrus, Beltre and Fielder, this offense should finally give the Texas Rangers pitchers some run support.  Yu Darvish will probably appreciate that.  Darvish was a victim of the lack of offense last year, losing four 0-1 games.

This year, the Rangers will open against the Philadelphia Phillies, team that has struggled the past 2 years.  It seem likely that their closer will not be Jonathan Papelbon next year, and possibly not have Cliff Lee.  The Phillies have been trying to trade both of them.  Also, Mike Adams will probably not be ready by April after his recent surgery.  Also, to add to the Phillies starting rotation questions, Roy Halladay retired this offseason.  This should be an easy win for them.

Lookin back to last year’s opening day,  the Texas Rangers had their home opener against the Los Angeles Angels.  Derek Holland went to the mound that day and only allowed 2 earned runs to lead the Rangers to a 3-2 win that day.

I expect the Rangers this year to again win their home opener.  With their line up and Darvish pitching, it should be an exciting game with some high powered offense that will surely set off some fireworks.  Thanks to Jon Daniels, all Rangers fans will have a merry Christmas.

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