The Rangers made another big offseason splash Saturday to upgrade their offense, reeling in the best remaining position player on the free-agent market.
Having already traded for Prince Fielder this offseason, Texas agreed on Saturday to a seven-year, $130 million deal with outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. The 31-year-old on-base machine should serve as a table-setter for the Rangers, who missed the playoffs and saw their offensive production suffer last season.
That was the biggest Hot Stove news of the day, but there were some other rumblings around the Majors. Here’s a look at Saturday’s rumors and transactions and a few reactions to Choo joining the Rangers.
• The Rangers have won the offseason by signing Choo, according to MLB.com’s Richard Justice. Obviously, several clubs that made a similar claim in recent years fell well short of expectations, and Justice notes that at least 15 teams could make a championship run. “Still,” he writes, “no team is better positioned to get to the World Series than the Rangers.”
• MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince takes a look at the hard-working Choo and writes that, even after handing out such a massive contract, the Rangers can take comfort in Choo’s genuine passion for and dedication to the game.
• With Choo off the board, pitchers have become the Hot Stove’s main attraction. MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby writes that the Rakuten Golden Eagles are calling all the shots in deciding whether Masahiro Tanaka joins the list of available hurlers.
• The Billy Butler trade rumors have calmed down lately, but he didn’t pay much attention to them in the first place, writes MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel. “I’m more worried about my fantasy football team than checking the Royals’ site,” he said.
• The Nationals agreed to terms with catcher Chris Snyder on a Minor League deal and invited him to Major League Spring Training.
• The Giants sold first baseman Brett Pill’s rights to the Korea Baseball Organization’s KIA Tigers, and Pill has agreed to a one-year contract with the club, pending a physical. Pill, 29, will remain on San Francisco’s 40-man roster until he passes his physical, which will take place some time after Christmas.