When the Texas Rangers signed Shin-Soo Choo prior to the 2014 season, he was supposed to be that key piece to the lineup. While he was not going to hit leadoff like he did for the Reds, Choo was still expected to slot in as the Rangers second batter, helping to set the table to the power bats. Instead, Choo struggled with injuries all season, producing a meager .242/.340/.374 batting line with 13 home runs and three stolen bases before being shut down in August. It was truly a lost season.
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There was hope that Choo, now that he was healthy, would come back and be that player the Rangers expected when he was signed to his seven year contract. Instead, Choo has struggled even worse. Despite a seven game hitting streak, Choo still has a .159/.271/.354 batting line. Even more concerning is that Choo has struck out 27 times in his 82 at bats this year.
Naturally, as Jon Daniels looks to make changes, the Texas Rangers may be looking to clear salary. With that in mind, it is thought that the Rangers are willing to make Choo available in trade discussions. According to Jon Heyman, one possibility may turn out to be the Yankees, who were also very interested in Choo prior to his decision to sign in Texas.
Of course, as Choo is owed another $102 Million over the next five years, the Rangers may not get much back for him unless they eat a portion of that contract. Even then, would it make sense to pay Choo to play elsewhere? He was their prize free agent acquisition, and it was hoped that he would be the missing piece. Should the Rangers really give up on him after an injury plagued season and a slow start to 2015?
It just does not make any sense to move on from Shin-Soo Choo at this point. Even ignoring the fact that he is performing better now that he is back in the leadoff role for the Rangers, Choo’s value is not likely to be much lower than it is right now. If the Rangers are truly interested in trading Choo, it would make far more sense to wait until he rebuilds his batting line and adds to his stock.
Even then, trading Choo this early into his contract would be a resounding failure for the Rangers. They would essentially be admitting that they made a colossal mistake bringing Choo in, a damning indictment against Daniels’ talent evaluation. Would he really be willing to make such an admission?
While it might make sense for the Texas Rangers to think about trading Shin-Soo Choo, he likely is not going anywhere just yet. Hopefully, he can continue his recent hitting streak and help be the catalyst the Rangers need atop their lineup. If so, then maybe this conversation can be revisited if the Rangers fall out of contention.