SI. com's Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Rangers had signed free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo earlier this afternoon, and here was my initial reaction, via Twitter:
Love Choo in Texas. Will have writeup later. Christmas shopping now.— Ray Guilfoyle (@faketeams) December 21, 2013
Yes, I had to get the Christmas shopping out of the way since I had yet to start. So, the tweet basically says it all. Choo in Texas is great for fantasy owners, as he will be one of the more sought after outfielders in AL-only and mixed leagues this season. In AL-only leagues, I have him as a top 5 outfielder in 2014, and 13th overall in my current fantasy outfielder rankings. I doubt this signing changes his ranking too much. I could see moving him above Alex Rios in my rankings to the 12 spot, but not much more than that.
I wrote about Choo signing with the Rangers back on Dec. 11th as well.
I assume Choo will leadoff for the much improved Rangers lineup in 2014. Here is my take on what their lineup may look like on Opening Day:
LF - Shin-Soo Choo
SS - Elvis Andrus
3B - Adrian Beltre
1B - Prince Fielder
RF - Alex Rios
DH - Mitch Moreland/Michael Choice
2B - Jurickson Profar
CF - Leonys Martin
C - Goevany Soto
Choo should continue to get on base, with the potential to score 100+ runs, hit 20 home runs and steal 20+ bases, while hitting in the .280-.300 range for the near term. How he handles the heat in Texas is yet to be determined, but I imagine he will be fine. Fielder may be another story. Even still, the lineup should score more runs than in 2013 and should challenge for the AL West title again.
The improved offense should make the Rangers starters a bit more valuable in fantasy drafts in 2014, so feel free to bump up Yu Darvish, Martin Perez and Derek Holland in your rankings a spot or two, or go the extra dollar it takes to land them in auction leagues.
It was reported that Choo allowed the Rangers to defer $5 million of his 2014 salary to 2016 and 2017, so it appears the Rangers offseason moves is not yet complete. Stay tuned.
Could their next move be to sign another starting pitcher?