The biggest story this off-season has been where will Shohei Ohtani land? If he picks the Texas Rangers could we see aging outfielder Shin-Soo Choo on the move?
Seven teams still remain in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes and the Rangers are one of them. The two-way star has made it clear he wants to both pitch and hit in the Major Leagues. He has limited outfield experience which could mean designated hitter is the best fit.
The problem is the Rangers have 35-year-old Choo penciled in as their DH for 2018. He can still play outfield, but played just 77 of his 149 games in the outfield last season. It’s clear the Rangers want to transition him into more of a DH.
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One solution is the Rangers just move Choo into the outfield when Ohtani is in the lineup. Choo had a -1.5 dWAR (defensive wins above replacement) last season, so him in the outfield is hurting the organization.
Swapping around the two is possible, the better move would be to trade Choo. His best attribute is plate discipline, Choo walked a team-high 77 times last season. He doesn’t offer many positives to the Rangers organization besides his ability to take a walk.
Trading Choo is going to be difficult, especially with over $60 million left on the contract. There isn’t an organization crazy enough to take the entire salary. Any realistic trade involving Choo would likely have the Rangers eating some of the contract.
Getting even part of that contract off their books is a win for the Rangers. If Texas lands Ohtani, then moving Choo should be the next priority. It’s a business and sadly Choo just doesn’t fit the scheme of the organization anymore.