Two baseball sources have said that the contract demands for free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo have escalated beyond the level where the Rangers are comfortable signing him. The growing hope now is that Nelson Cruz will return to help bolster the Rangers' lineup.
One of the sources said that Choo agent Scott Boras is seeking a deal similiar in length and annual salary that was signed by another Boras client, Jacoby Ellsbury, last week. The Yankees signed the former Red Sox center fielder for seven years and $153 million.
Most with the Rangers don't believe that Choo is a player worthy of a contract of that size, and the second source denied reports that had the Rangers as one of the leading contenders for him.
But the Rangers continue to warm to the idea of Cruz re-signing with them, though they still aren't interested in guaranteeing the slugger three years. Their primary concern is his ability to remain healthy. Though Cruz has avoided the disabled list the past two seasons, he has had to play through leg issues that have affected him on the bases and in right field.
There is, however, a belief that another respected bat is needed to go in the middle of the lineup. While the Rangers like the upside of Michael Choice, acquired last week, some feel hesitant to give regular at-bats to a player who will enter the season with 18 career at-bats.
-- Jeff Wilson