Shin-Soo Choo committed the unpardonable sin of being injured the first season of his seven-year contract. For that, a lot of Rangers fans have never forgiven him. And, have never given him credit for being one of the most productive hitters in the Rangers lineup since.
It’s also not his fault that the Rangers haven’t had all that many productive hitters in their lineup since he arrived in 2014. Nor is it his fault that his arrival and the ultimate falling down of the Rangers happened the same time as well.
Choo had always been an under-the-radar player since he came up with Seattle, then after the Mariners traded him to Cleveland. He signed a one-year deal with Cincinnati in 2013 that ended up putting him on the MVP radar that year. He had an on-base percentage of .423 and an OPS+ of 145, meaning he was 45 percent better than the average player.
Then Texas signed him, he got injured and his numbers dropped across the board, and the Rangers lost 95 games. 2014 was just a big cesspool of ugly.
But since that first season, Choo’s on-base percentage has been a respectable .369. And, in every season since his first, he has either led the team in OBP, or been a close second. He’s never had a Rangers season where his OPS+ was less than 100, even in 2014, meaning he has always been a league average or better hitter every year.
Now he heads into the last year of his contract with the Rangers expected to DH mostly, and expected to continue being their most consistent on-base machine. The Rangers have been set at DH in the Choo era.
In 2019, the Rangers DH position fared favorably in the A.L. West, thanks to Choo, Hunter Pence, Nick Solak, and Willie Calhoun. Houston, of course, plucked another gem from their farm system as their DH in probable A.L. Rookie of the Year Yordan Alverez. Here is how the DH position looked within the division this season.
The Rangers have a roster full of guys whose best position is DH, so they are not in the market for one. Nonetheless, here are the available free agent DHs.
Tomorrow, starting pitchers.