Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo revealed in an appearance on a talk show in his native South Korea that he underwent a minor surgery on his left shoulder (hat tip: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News). Choo was wearing a sling during the appearance but said the procedure came with a rough recovery timeline of six to eight weeks. That should put him on track for a normal Spring Training, barring any setbacks.
Now 37 years old, Choo has spent the past six seasons with the Rangers after signing a seven-year, $130MM deal as a free agent in the 2013-14 offseason. He’s had three solid years and three forgettable ones thus far into that lengthy pact, with each of his two most recent seasons standing out as a productive efforts. Dating back to Opening Day 2018, Choo has batted a combined .264/.374/.444 with 45 home runs, 61 doubles and three triples. He’s played in 297 games and tallied 1325 plate appearances across those two seasons while serving as the club’s primary designated hitter.
Choo is owed $21MM in 2020 — the final season of his current contract. Texas has explored trading him in the past and could look to trade a left-handed-hitting outfielder this winter, though Choo’s contract, lack of defensive value and this surgery won’t make him easy to move. Choo did log 668 innings in the outfield this year but was rated poorly by Defensive Runs Saved (-16), Ultimate Zone Rating (-9.0) and Outs Above Average (-12). Meanwhile, most American League clubs already have a set DH or multiple players they plan to rotate through that DH slot and other positions, making it even more difficult to see Choo being moved. Nomar Mazara, on the other hand, could be a more plausible candidate to change hands with Texas likely to commit two outfield spots to fellow lefty hitters Willie Calhoun and Joey Gallo.