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shin-soo chooAlthough the Chicago Cubs were connected to him by rumors periodically throughout the offseason (indeed, stretching back into August), Shin-Soo Choo was always destined to go somewhere else.

Detroit and Texas made the most sense, and, according to Jon Heyman, it’s going to be Texas for Choo. Heyman reports it’s a seven-year deal, though no terms have yet been reported. You’ve got to figure the deal will be in the $20 million per year range, which feels a bit crazy for a 31-year-old corner outfielder with little pop and crazy splits, but, hey, that’s the price of OBP (just don’t count on him to repeat his HBP-inflated mark from 2013).

A teeny, tiny upside here is that signing Choo to a monster deal (after taking on Prince Fielder’s deal) makes it slightly less likely that the Rangers will be serious players for Masahiro Tanaka, should he be posted. The Yankees and Dodgers are still the primary competition, though.

Outfielder Nelson Cruz is now going to head elsewhere, and might be scrambling a bit to find the kind of huge contract he’d hoped to get when the Winter began. And the Angels, Mariners, and A’s will all have to consider just how much better the Rangers have made themselves in the near-term.

UPDATE: Reports say the deal is for $130 million, or about $18.57 million per year, plus a limited no trade clause. It’s a lot of money for a guy with some warts, but he inarguably makes the Rangers a lot better in the 2014-16 window.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    When a star player finally gets his 7 year contract he can go off the HGH. (See Crawford, Fielder, Puhjols, Werth) You can add Cano, Choo, Ellsbury to the list after next season. Don’t forget the ones with pride Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Big Papi and Hamilton who are still using.

    • FarmerTanColin

      So every star player that signs a long contract is using HGH.

      Okay.

  • Fastball

    Nelson Cruz is going to get paid by somebody in MLB. The PED’s stygma is already wearing off. I know fans still don’t like it. But, GM and Owners some if not all don’t care if I guy did the stuff. They turned and looked the other way for years. Now they are back to paying those guys like it’s in the past. I don’t care if a guy did them or didn’t. They only hurt themselves from a long term health perspective and the risk hurting their wallet. If they accept that risk then its on them. If baseball wanted it out of the game it would just be a lifetime ban. I support 1 and done. But if baseball isn’t going to have a rule a such then it’s a take PED’s at your own risk policy. If baseball owners and GM’s don’t care anymore then fans shouldn’t waste their time worrying about it. Face it a great many of professional athletes are not role model type citizens.

    • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

      The primary effect on an Organization is low production and used up dollars. Once they strike a long term deal they can play clean.

      • Patrick W.

        Eh… I think cheaters gonna cheat. ARod’s contract didn’t effect him. Bonds certainly didn’t play clean post contract. If you’re going to cheat, if you’ve made that decision, stopping is probably pretty hard. With the new tougher penalties you might be right.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Actually, it might have been hard to choose differently. If you were not cheating, you were not trying. There might have been a fuzzier line with steroids, but with amphetamines at least, it was *expected.* In particular, if a guy had a bad day (K’d a lot, misjudged flyballs, etc.), then he made *damn* sure that all of his teammates saw him drink from the “leaded” coffee (or however the benny-laced coffee pot was labelled) so that they would all know he was not going to let the same thing happen the next day. The morality of athletes is, after all, do everything that you can to win.

        • hansman

          Well, once you sell your soul to the devil it’s hard to buy it back.

  • David

    Yes, it seems like they overpaid, but if he gets on base like he has in the past, he’ll score 100+ runs in this lineup for 4 of the next 5 years. That could mean a couple of championships….. ya never know. Then the contract will be well worth it. When the Cubs are good, we’re gonna overpay for a couple of guys to get us over the top & we’re gonna win this F’in thing. Really lookin forward to that!!

    • Canadian Cubs Fan

      Amen!

    • Rodrick

      I do not support players making high contract dollars. That money is better in the hands of owners, who can do trickle-down economics. Players waste money on cars like Porsches and stuff. This is just out of control and money should be back in the hands of those who know what to do with it.

      • TOOT

        WhoDa WhatDa? Owners are paying the sallaries, don’t you consider that out of control? Trickle down economics? Yea, just like in the Reagan years, gets trickled down to who they want it to get trickled down to.

      • beerhelps

        Is this a real post or was that sarcasm? I truly cannot tell.

      • Hawkeye

        @ Rodrick- this is my new all time favorite post I’ve read on this site. I literally LOL’ed. Problem is, I’m not sure this was intended to be a joke. Either way, it was great.

    • Jay

      Huge amount of money for a 31 year old who can’t hit lefties. I’m all for paying the players who are worth it, but the back half of this deal is going to be ugly. Then again, who knows what a middling 35 year old OF will cost by then?

  • Josh

    I would go as far as to say this is more absurd than the Cano deal

    • David

      What if they win a world series? Still a bad deal??

      • Kyle

        Even beyond that,

        What if they make the playoffs by less than 2 games at any point in the contract? How much is a playoff berth worth?

        • DocPeterWimsey

          That’s what people don’t appreciate: the Rangers have to be planning to pay Choo and Fielder in 2017 & beyond for performance in 2014-2016. This greatly increases the Rangers’ chances of making post-season in that span, and it might already hurt it after that. However, they have a good team now, and they should be a bit better next year. If they get into post-season, then, hey, if they are playing well in September, then they have a good shot at getting to the LCS and then probably a 50:50 shot of making the WS.

        • aaronb

          Nothing without a WS title.

          That is “The Plan”…60 win season or WS title.

    • Jay

      Not even close. Seattle paying far more per year all the way til Cano’s in his 40’s.

  • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

    Name one active player that has lived up to their long term contract, except Soriano.

    • Voice of Reason

      Terry pendleton

      • DarthHater

        Terry Pendleton is an active player?

    • DarthHater

      Miguel Cabrera

    • caryatid62

      If we’re just talking about post-arbitration players who have signed for more than 3 years, the list contains:

      Alex Rodriguez (Texas contract)
      Adrian Beltre
      Yu Darvish
      Adam Wainwright
      Felix Hernandez
      Jose Bautista
      Carlos Gonzalez
      Buster Posey
      Edwin Encarnacion

      That’s top of my head, though, so there may be more.

    • Jay

      Soriano??? What crack are you smoking? He’s the poster child for these bad contracts.

      • Bluz Cluz

        According to who? I bet if you did the math, you would see that Soriano earn a whole lot more of his contract than you think.

  • Voice of Reason

    The cubs were linked to choo alright.

    The cubs offered him $60 million over four years. That occurred about a month ago.

    That’s when the link was immediately broken.

  • TK

    Funny . . . Choo rejected Yankees’ 7/$140m to take 7/130 from Rangers. Yet so many people insist Tanaka (if posted) is going to whoever offers the most money, which is why those same people insist if he comes to MLB, it will be with NYY. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    • hansman

      Rangers and yankees had about similar offers when you factor income taxes.

      Hell, the rangers is probably a touch higher.

      • Pat

        Yeah, with what he’d be making its about a 12 or 13 percent difference between NYC and Texas. He’s definitely coming out ahead by taking the Rangers deal.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Also, Choo supposedly is getting a partial NTC. People forget that NTC = $XM to a player.

    • Kevin B

      I disagree that he rejected yankees for rangers. Boras screwed up. Countered the yankees and demanded ellsbury money. Then yankees signed beltran instead. Oooppps no more 140 million on the table. Choo had to then scramble to get 130 million

      • Jason P

        It’s a damn miracle Boras was even able to pull out $130 million for Choo. Some in September speculated he could be had for 5/75.

        • Kevin B

          Not a miracle at all ellsbury had signed for 154 million. Cano 240 million and beltran 45 million with $15 million average so that is the market. Then even choo is offered 7/140 million or $20 million per year and you think boras pulled a miracle turning that down for 10million less? The market was set and no one would even be offering 5/$75

  • JUICED1

    Is anyone else happy he’s not on the Reds anymore. I’m glad to see him out of the central.

    • Bret Epic

      I certainly am. I’m a fan of the way he plays the game, but I did not expect him to end up getting this big of a pay day. I was thinking maybe like 6/100 as a ceiling, but I guess it’s because of this crazy market inflation. It makes me happy knowing the Cubs haven’t done anything unreasonable this offseason. Mostly incremental improvements with clear chances for upside. It’s a bit boring, but I think the Cubs will end up making a bigger splash by trading some of the more expendable pieces and if they do end up splurging, I hope it’s on Tanaka.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The shame of it was that Choo probably was underrated prior to last year: I think that people really caught on to him putting up such great OBP numbers on a contending team.

        I would have liked to see him on the Cubs, but not for a contract like this.

        • Bret Epic

          Agreed. He’s sorta like an improved DeJesus. Power, speed, OBP improved, but not the greatest against lefties and their defense is passable.

          • Bret Epic

            but neither are the greatest against lefties*

            • Bluz Cluz

              He is still an above average player against lefties.

  • Blackhawks1963

    …and now the next drama of the offseason becomes Tanaka’s pick of the Yankees, Rangers, Dodgers or Angels to play for.

  • Rebuilding

    “Starlin Castro claims that stress related to an ongoing legal dispute in the Dominican Republic has affected his on-field performance for the Cubs, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports. A coach at a baseball school in the Dominican is suing Castro, contending that a contract the shortstop’s father signed when Castro was an amateur entitles the academy to a portion of his Major League earnings. The affair has had a “direct impact on his duties as a professional ballplayer, leading to one of his worst-ever statistical performances,”

    So Castro is countersuing, eh

    • Eternal Pessimist

      I hope this is true because he is bound to get over this and be back to his old self then.

    • Jason P

      That’s a load of bull. All year, every game, we’re supposed to believe that when he was standing in the batters box, he was thinking about a legal dispute and not getting a hit?

      He needs to be a professional. And that means not allowing off the field issues like these to effect his performance.

  • Cub Go

    This is professional baseball player version of claiming whiplash in a court of law. Castro makes more money than the GDP of the Dominican and this money obligation traumatized him? This being the same d!psh!t who spent $200 grand on a fancy car despite the advice of Alfonso Soriano not to do it. This the same unlikeable lazy punk who was facing sexual abuse allegations a couple years ago.

    I hate Castro. So do a growing list of Cub fans. Dump him the nanosecond he may reclaim any of his market value. Yes, some of us pass judgment on professional athletes when we see conduct and performance detrimental to the team. It comes with the territory. So if you don’t like the opinion espoused, then tough luck. I won’t be a hypocrite and say I’m all good with Castro.

    • max

      terrible

    • Eternal Pessimist

      “facing sexual abuse allegations”

      You might want to wait for the evidence before you throw him under the bus for being accused. He may be what you imply or he just might be a victim of some plot to get his cash…same for the baseball contract his father supposedly signed (so his father signed a contract making him responsible to some organization into Castro’s adult life? Does that sound fair?)

    • Patrick W.

      Oh …. no … it’s not tough luck if I don’t like the opinion espoused. I have the reply button! The mighty reply button.

      You are ignorant on the GDP of the Dominican Republic. You are also not willing to think beyond the dollars because that seems to be very important to you.

      I submit that it might very well be stressful to deal with 1) living under the threat of having your assets seized 2) dealing with the dynamic of your father being one of the bad guys in the whole mess.

      Finally, is there something you know, have first hand knowledge of, that the police, the alleged victim and the prosecutor don’t know? Is there any reason to not believe all of them? Just throwing around that incident isn’t really enough to make your point, which is that you hate Starlin Castro because he has money.

      If you don’t like the opinion espoused, click on reply.

  • Rebuilding

    Interesting article from Fangraphs that splits the Cardinals into 2 teams – each of which would project to finish about a game behind the Cubs. It shows just how far away we are:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/community/what-if-the-st-louis-cardinals-were-two-teams/

  • Rebuilding

    Good article on aging curves and how they have changed post 2005-6. It seems players are declining much more rapidly after their peak since the PED crackdown:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/more-on-changing-hitter-aging-curves/#more-142831

  • preacherman86

    Wrigley will never look like the trop! Ur crazy

  • Andy

    Man I am glad we let another slip away. I only want the scrap heap for the 100 loss cubs.

  • lindo

    I’m sure it’s too late to weigh in on this but maybe Brett will catch this.

    I’m a CPA with a couple of professional athlete clients. I can tell you that the assumptions the casual fan makes regarding state income taxes is not correct. Will Choo catch a tax break by living in TX? Of course. Is it 100%? Nope. Not even close.

    Virtually every state now subscribes to the “Duty Day” concept which basically says that if you set foot in my state and play/practice you will pay me tax and the team is required to withhold it from your pay. Choo will pay state tax in IL, MD, MN, OH, CA…you get the idea. FYI some states are muttering about taxing their “share” of endorsement revenue under the same concept.

    Bottom line. Of course there’s an advantage to Choo and LeBron and D Wade living in TX or FL but they will pay taxes to other states. It’s just not simply a case of comparing NY to TX. You might want to discount that savings by 20 or 30% (just throwing a number against the wall).

    • Patrick W.

      Why wouldn’t it be 50% if he plays half his games in TX. At least start there. He also plays 7 or 8 games in WA. Maybe 3 games in FL.

      • Pat

        I also wonder how the payouts to players are structured. Is it a per game payment, or an annual structure of some sort (dispersed weekly, biweekly, monthly). If the latter, an even smaller portion of the salaries would be earned in a given game in a given city.

      • lindo

        Practice time also counts in the formula so I’m assuming more time in the home state for argument’s sake. But then when baseball season starts who practices, unlike basketball and football?

  • Funn Dave

    NOOOOOO!!!! My dream signings of Choo and Tanaka were always a stretch, but it was a nice little dream.

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