By agreeing to a seven-year, $130MM contract today with Shin-Soo Choo, the Rangers put an exclamation point on an offseason of sizable future salary commitments -- for the team and the league as a whole. Along with the contract commitments taken on or made to Alex Rios, Prince Fielder, Martin Perez, Elvis Andrus, and Matt Harrison, Texas has added nearly $400MM in future salary obligations to its books during the 2013 calendar year. And as MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Tracker shows, league-wide salary expenditure through free agency has now passed the bar set in 2013, when the league spent $1.46 billion on open-market players.
With Choo off the board, the top remaining free agent position players are Stephen Drew and Nelson Cruz. Of course, several other major pitching targets are still free, and figure to command sizeable deals of their own. Here are some of the early reactions from around baseball to Choo's signing:
- As far as discipline goes, Choo, Prince Fielder and Geovany Soto will add real stress to opponent pitch counts, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas News. In 2013, the Rangers ranked ninth in the AL in total pitches seen and that was with the benefit one of extra game.
- In the wake of Choo signing with Texas, Reds GM Walt Jocketty reiterated that Billy Hamilton is his guy, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “He’s the guy,” Jocketty said. “We feel confident he can be a good leadoff hitter. He’ll give us great defense. The only question is how often he can get on base. He’ll start working on his bunting again after the first of the year. If he can master that, it will really help him.”
- The Rangers and Boras worked well into Friday night and Saturday morning to put together the deal, writes Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. Brown adds that Choo's left-handed bat should play particularly well in Texas.
- Bringing Choo into the fold takes care of the final item on the Rangers' to-do list and helps ensure that the three-way race for the American League West will once again be must-see baseball, writes Fangraphs' Paul Swydan.
- Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com looks at possible lineups for the Rangers now that Choo is in the fold.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.