Jon Daniels is a Dirty Liar
By Lee Stitzel
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Daniels is a dirty liar. He has spent two weeks claiming Texas was done making moves this offseason. This morning the Texas Rangers inked a deal with Shin-Soo Choo for seven years and 130 million dollars. After all the work Daniels did putting up a smoke screen he managed to land one of the top free agents in baseball. Daniels usually credibly underrepresents Texas’s involvement in any dealings which allows him to keep prices low. This is another sterling example of this in action.
The deal is a good one for Texas. Choo has a lifetime .389 OBP and smoked pitching last year to the tune of .423 OBP. Choo is one of the best at getting on base but can also flat out hit. Choo’s career wRC+ is a strong 135, driven by his high OBP and consistently hitting 15-20 homeruns a year.
Choo is likely to anchor left field and hit leadoff for Texas. This fills two of the team’s most pressing needs. The addition of Choo means Leonys Martin will not have to hit leadoff. Martin is still developing as a hitter and will likely benefit from hitting lower in the lineup. Having Choo constantly on base will benefit Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder immensely.
The lineup should go something like this;
Alex Rios is likely better suited hitting sixth than fifth but the top half of the lineup will be a decent one. The bottom of the lineup also has potential to be strong. Jurickson Profar and Leonys Martin may take big steps this year in their production. If those two progress from last year this lineup could be one of the better lineups in baseball.
This signing should invigorate the Rangers’ fan base. Texas nabs the best remaining free agent. The best part of the signing is how perfectly Choo fits in the lineup. Texas’s lineup needed a left fielder and a leadoff hitter. In the short run Choo will be one of, if not, the best leadoff hitter in baseball. This makes the Texas lineup deep and strong.
The worry with these kinds of signings is always the later years in the contract. I submit to you that it is time to radically rethink how to value contracts. Contract after contract these past two offseasons seem to be serious overpays. With many teams having gotten, or eventually getting, new television contracts, players’ contracts will rise as teams can pay more to land free agents.
Choo is 31 today and has a seven year deal. Choo’s skill set should last, as batting eye and power tend to age better than speed and batting average. Choo is getting less than 20 million AAV so his deal has a chance to look good even into the late part of the deal.
Compare Choo’s deal to Jacoby Ellsbury’s deal and Texas is a definite winner. Ellsbury is 30 and received 153 million dollars. Ellsbury is a better defender and baserunner but Choo has more consistent power and is his OBP is in another league from Ellsbury. I would rather have Choo and Daniels managed to land Choo at a lower price. Comparing these two signings is favorable for the Rangers.
Jon Daniels may be a liar but he is a superb general manager.