Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is hitting the DL with a fractured left forearm, according to an announcement from VP of communications John Blake. The tough-luck injury occurred on a hit-by-pitch.
Given that it’s mid-August, it’s certainly possible that Choo’s latest injury could keep him out for the rest of the season. After all, Jon Jay is still on the DL after breaking his forearm nearly two months ago. And Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos missed two months with his own, similar injury.
That sort of timetable makes a post-season return possible, though that may be a tall ask if Choo doesn’t have a chance to rehab in live game action. And it isn’t yet clear whether Choo will require a full two months; we’ll need to wait to learn of his particular prognosis.
Regardless, it’s a big blow to Texas and to Choo. It seems that Ryan Rua will take his spot on the active roster, and the club also has slugger Joey Gallo available. Those two will be useful replacements, as will Delino DeShields Jr., and Drew Stubbs, and the club can mix and match at its leisure once rosters expand in September.
But Choo remains a strong on-base threat at 34 years of age, and is especially excellent against right-handed pitching (despite carrying reverse platoon splits in his limited action this year), making him a difficult player to replace. It just hasn’t been meant to be this year, as he has now hit the DL on four separate occasions for a variety of ailments. Texas has already needed to find replacements for Josh Hamilton (Ian Desmond) and Prince Fielder (Carlos Beltran) earlier in the year.
If the Rangers do take to the market once more, they’ll have a few options, as MLBTR’s top twenty current trade candidates list shows. Melky Cabrera would represent a rather similar player, though the Rangers may not love the idea of taking over his future commitments. Brett Gardner and Nick Markakis are other potential left-handed-hitting options. Carlos Gomez can be had, though he’s an uncertain commodity and hits from the right side.
Looking past the present campaign, Choo remains a somewhat frustrating player for the Rangers. He carries a useful .259/.361/.422 slash over 1,377 plate appearances since signing before the 2014 season. But that’s not quite what the team hoped to receive out of the first three of seven years in his huge contract. Choo is still owed $82MM over the remainder of that pact.