Shin-Soo Choo has agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract with the Texas Rangers. The news wasn’t particularly surprising as the Rangers were expected to be a major player for the Korean outfielder.
What came as a bit of a surprise was the report that Choo rejected a seven-year, $140 million contract with the New York Yankees. Apparently, Choo’s agent, Scott Boras, countered the Yankees’ lucrative offer by asking for a contract closer to Jacoby Ellsbury’s seven-year, $153 million deal. The Yankees responded by signing Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45 million contract.
Even though Choo will be playing his home games in a totally different state for a team in the western division, the Yankees could still benefit from his services, or rather the price of his services. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Choo signing could take the Rangers out of the bidding war for Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka.
Thus far, the Yankees signed the best catcher available in Brian McCann; they acquired two of the best free agent outfielders in Ellsbury and Beltran; they added depth at shortstop with Brendan Ryan; and they will choose between Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson, Dean Anna, and Eduardo Nunez to replace Robinson Cano at second base. Yet their starting rotation still only consists of three players.
Right now, the Yankees need starting pitching more than anything as all three of their returning starters struggled last season. Tanaka could truly bolster the rotation. The 25-year-old right hander went 24-0 this year in Nippon Professional Baseball with a 1.27 ERA and 0.943 WHIP. With the veteran McCann behind the dish, he could immediately be inserted into the no. 2 spot in the rotation.
With the numbers he put up in Japan, New York is obviously not the only team interested in Tanaka’s services. But thanks to Choo, the Yankees may have one less team to compete with.