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December 21, 2013

Rangers agree to seven-year deal with Shin-Soo Choo

So much for the Rangers not making any additional acquisitions this off-season.

The Rangers and free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo have agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract, according to multiple baseball sources. The deal solidifies the Rangers' outfield and gives them a proven leadoff hitter for the 2014 season.

Choo has long been held in high regard by the Rangers, who attempted to trade for him when he was with Cleveland. A left-handed hitter, Choo has a career. 389 on-base percentage and got on base at a .423 clip in 2013 with Cincinnati.

He also has some pop and speed, with a couple 20-20 seasons on his resume.

The deal gives the Rangers an outfield of Choo in left field, Leonys Martin in center and Alex Rios in right. The Rangers had been looking at rookie Michael Choice as their left fielder, or in a platoon with Engel Beltre.

Choo's glaring weakness is left-handed pitching. He batted just .215 against them in 2013 and is a career .243 hitter against them.

On several occasions the past two weeks, general manager Jon Daniels said that he didn't expect the Rangers to make any major acquisitions the rest of the off-season. Choo had been seeking around $153 million, similar to what fellow Scott Boras client Jacoby Ellsbury received from the Yankees. Choo reportedly turned down a $140 million offer from the Yankees.

The addition of Choo almost certainly means that Nelson Cruz, another free agent, won't be returning to the Rangers. The Choo signing will cost the Rangers their first-round draft pick, but they will receive one once Cruz signs elsewhere.

-- Jeff Wilson


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