The rosters were announced for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game in Washington D.C. on July 18th. Unsurprisingly, the Rangers will only have their minimum one representative. Another unsurprising turn is that soon-to-be 36 year-old Shin-Soo Choo will make his first ever appearance in the “Mid-Summer Classic”– the first ever appearance from a Korean-born player– as he’s in the midst of a now club record 47 consecutive game on-base streak.
Hey now, Choo’re an All-Star! 🚂🌟 pic.twitter.com/E9sK6bmUOU
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) July 8, 2018
Choo has been on an absolute during this streak as he has an OPS of 1.160 over the last thirty days en route to boosting his batting average up to .294 and on base percentage to .402 for the season. The elevated play from designated hitter/outfielder has been a vital cog in the team’s ability to play at .500 clip since the beginning of June and keep them from the depths of some of the clubs that have the worst records in baseball.
Despite a 16-16 record since June 1st, the Rangers still started out so poorly that they currently sit at just 40-51 and are 17 games back of a Wild Card spot and 20.5 games back of the AL West leading Houston Astros. This team has seemed destined to be sellers at the trade deadline ever since this team got off to an 8-17 start in April. Stars like Adrian Beltre and Cole Hamels have most often been seen as the most likely candidates to be dealt as they are veterans on (potentially) expiring contracts that could be headed elsewhere this winter anyway.
Ever since Shin-Soo Choo signed with Texas before the 2014 season, his 7 year/$130 million contract has been viewed by fans, and likely other general managers across baseball, as an unmovable albatross that the Rangers would be stuck with through the deal’s expiration after the 2020 season. Choo’s inconsistent performance paired with his inability to stay healthy enough across entire seasons hasn’t helped the cause, but he has suddenly become an All-Star this season and maybe taking on two-plus seasons at $21 million in 2019 and 2020 isn’t an impossible ask?
The word about the size of a trade market for Choo has been inconsistent but has definitely heated up in recent weeks. At this stage of his career, the main value is with the bat and the glove’s ability is limited. Shin-Soo Choo has started as the Rangers DH in 57 of his 85 starts this season. One would have to think that any team looking to add him would be a contender in the American League so they could utilize him as the designated hitter. The thing that will make a deal work for teams receiving Choo would be how much money the Rangers are willing to absorb of Choo’s remaining salary over the next two-plus seasons.
With the trade deadline now three weeks away, the winds will definitely begin to swirl for the Texas Rangers and other teams seemingly destined to be “sellers” come July 31st. General manager Jon Daniels and the front office got the trade ball rolling with a deal Sunday where they acquired minor league pitcher Jason Bahr while absorbing the contracts of major leaguers Austin Jackson and Cory Gearrin for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Is it going to be the lone move or is it merely the first of a domino effect? If Shin-Soo Choo isn’t wearing a Rangers uniform on August 1st, he certainly won’t be the only veteran currently on the roster to be in that spot.