Contract Status: 7 years / $130 million (’14-’20), signed through 2020.
2019 marked Shin-Soo Choo completing his sixth season with the Rangers. While Choo’s age rises, so does his production. Choo’s 2019 saw a career-high in home runs and near-identical numbers to his 2018 All-Star campaign. Choo also set the Rangers record on June 8 vs. Oakland by being hit fifty-eight times (69 total hit by pitches as a Ranger). Ever since the Rangers signed Choo on December 13, 2013, the discussion is that the Rangers made an awful deal.
If you carefully compare Choo’s career between his six years with the Rangers and seven years with the Indians, the numbers aren’t too far off. Sure the production in on-base, slugging, and the average is lower, think about the fact that Choo will enter his sixteenth season in the Major Leagues at age 37. In 2019, Choo saw the outfield in 81 games, the second-most in a season with the Rangers (2015), and the eighth-most in his career. On June 5, Choo belted his 200th home run, a feat that no other Asian-born player achieved in the big leagues. On the defensive side, Choo did commit four errors all season, three of those errors came in the first month of the season (12 games) while through his final 69 games of the season, Choo committed one error.
The one thing Chris Woodward raves about Shin-Soo Choo is the dedication that Choo plays every day as if someone is coming for his job. “Choo says that somebody is taking my job. If I take my foot off the gas at all, somebody is taking my job. If I don’t come and do my work, somebody is taking my job.” It’s the mentality that the Rangers coaching staff wants to ignite for the entire team. The work ethic Choo brings is what makes him a leader in the clubhouse.
Outlook: I don’t expect Choo’s spot at the top of the lineup to be wiped out. As the first batter of the game for the Rangers, Choo had an OPS of 1.070 with a batting average of .345. However, I do project fewer games and fewer at-bats in 2020 for Choo, depending on early production. The Rangers floated the idea of dealing a left-handed outfielder this winter, but Choo’s contract doesn’t provide many suitors.
With all that said, that wouldn’t stop Choo from giving it his all day in and day out. Woody raved about Choo’s work ethic multiple times last season. “He’s constantly trying to improve.” He also added about how Choo can adjust his game to make it better, leading to his excellent conditioning. “He’s this committed to what he’s doing, and then you start adding pieces, and he’s still open. A lot of guys like that are pretty stubborn in their routine. [Choo] is like, I’m still going to do my routine, but what can I do to my routine to make it better.” We all could use a little more Shin-Soo Choo mentality and his humor next season.
Choo did it better? pic.twitter.com/jjd6cmB6nF
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) August 4, 2019
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