If you thought the Winter Meetings were going to be interesting, it turns out that every team in Major League Baseball wanted to make sure they had all their wish lists filled out and scratched off before anyone ever made the trip to Orlando, Florida.
However, for the Texas Rangers, there are still a few items on their wish list that still need to be picked up before they pack their bags for Arizona.
You can start in left field and, even though the Rangers acquired outfielder Michael Choice from the Oakland Athletics earlier in the week, Texas is still very much in the race for free agent Shin-Soo Choo. There are some who make a big stink over his lack of being able to hit left handers, but his on base percentage more than makes up for that and it’s something that’s extremely attractive to the Rangers. The concern at this point is how many years and the dollar amount that it might take to get a deal done with him, especially after Jacoby Ellsbury signed a seven-year $153 million contract with the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
Choo absolutely fits what the Rangers are looking for and it gives them their starting left fielder for the foreseeable future. What also works in their favor is the expiring contract of current right fielder, Alex Rios, who will be a free agent after the conclusion to the 2014 season.
Why is that a good thing? It gives the Rangers the opportunity to give young Choice the starting job in his place.
So, with the outfield now fixed for 2014 and beyond, it’s time to bring in a catcher who can platoon with starter Geovany Soto – if you want to call him a starter that is.
The list was long when the offseason started, topped off by guys like Brian McCann, who came off the free agent market fairly quick when he signed a five-year $85 million contract with the New York Yankees, Dioner Navarro, who signed a two-year pact with the Toronto Blue Jays and Jarrod Saltalamacchia who signed his own two-year deal with the Miami Marlins.
With those three off the market, who’s left for the Rangers to turn to? According to T.R. Sullivan, who covers the Rangers during their long 162-game season, reported a meeting between Texas and free agent catcher, Kurt Suzuki.
While I understand why people are scared off by his offensive numbers from this past season with the Washington Nationals and Oakland Athletics, not to mention the arguments of not being able to frame pitches or throw out runners (something that didn’t scare the Rangers when they signed A.J. Pierzynski prior to the 2013 season), he fits exactly what Texas is looking for from a catcher.
He’s very good blocking wild pitches in the dirt and he gets a pitching staff to trust his ability to call his own game. Just ask why the Athletics acquired him from the Nationals at the July trade deadline.
But while Choo and Suzuki are just projects, the rumors don’t stop there.
While I would quickly say the Rangers need to jump in head first where this former Cy Young Award winner is concerned, after Texas sent Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers in return for Prince Fielder, sending Jurickson Profar or Elvis Andrus to Tampa in a deal for Price doesn’t make much sense at this point unless they plan on signing Robinson Cano which is even more farfetched than the aforementioned trade for David Price.
The player movement might just be getting started. Hang on to your hats, folks.