Since the Rangers made that curious swap with Oakland in December 2013 of Craig Gentry for Michael Choice, there were high hopes for the Mansfield High School and University of Texas at Arlington product.
However, Choice, who turned 25 in November, hasn’t lived up to any sort of expectations as a platoon partner with Leonys Martin in center field (an idea I always hated) and didn’t take advantage of 2014 spot starts and 2015 Spring Training to earn at least a reserve role.
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Also, he has options left. And the Rangers are doing him a big favor in my opinion to give him consistent AAA at-bats in Round Rock rather than keep him in high pressure, doomed to fail pinch hitting and infrequent starts at the Major League level.
In nine Spring Training games, the Oakland A’s top-ranked and 63rd overall ranked (Jurickson Profar was first) in 2012 reached base just twice on a single and a walk in 19 plate appearances.
If Choice is ever going to right the ship still just 25 – although the Rangers are absolutely loaded with young outfield prospects: Nomar Mazara (19 years old), Nick Williams (21), Lewis Brinson (20) – his best bet is to get everyday play in the minors, and I’m glad the Rangers are taking this route while he still as options left and won’t be exposed to waivers where he would surely be claimed.
As for where Choice could have stayed with a good Spring, left field is now in the hands of either Jake Smolinski (7-21 with a HR in ST), Ryan Rua (6-24 with a HR) or veteran non-roster invite Ryan Ludwick (.188 average).
The Texas Rangers also announced another set of moves.
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As for Luke Jackson, this was a given and with Yu Darvish already shelved for 2015 with Tommy John Surgery he could be one of the first in line to get a start if/when the Rangers need another arm in Arlington.
Jackson, 23, was the 45th overall pick by Texas in 2010 out of High School and made huge progress last year in AA (3.04 ERA) before struggling badly after his promotion to AAA (10.35 ERA).