Texas Rangers

Shin-Soo Choo isn't interested in trade, but does it make sense for the Rangers?

Texas Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo hits a solo home run during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Houston Astros, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in Arlington, Texas.
Texas Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo hits a solo home run during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Houston Astros, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. AP

Shin-Soo Choo continues to get on base every night. That’s something every team has a desire for.

And that’s why Choo is becoming more of a trade commodity for the Texas Rangers. The reasons for trading him are starting to stack up after he extended his on-base streak to 44 games in the Rangers' 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

"I do my job, man," Choo said. "I say it all the time, I do my job. My goal every game is two on-base. I don’t know what’s going on outside here, but I just do my job here. Play hard, try to keep winning."

Choo made it clear he has no interest in leaving the team he's called home since 2014.

"Nobody wants to leave, especially after five years with the Rangers," Choo said. "I know why I’m here. I have a goal here. I signed with the Rangers, but I understand the business side of game. I can’t control that."

Choo extended his on-base streak it in style on our nation's birthday, though, sending a solo shot over the left-center field fence to spark what became a three-run third inning for the Rangers.

Choo unloaded on a 2-0 fastball from Astros starter Gerrit Cole. The Rangers added a couple more runs on RBI hits by Jurickson Profar and Rougned Odor.

But no lead is safe with this season's squad, especially against the reigning World Series champions, and the Rangers found themselves in a 4-4 dogfight midway through the game. It went to extra innings where the Astros pulled out the victory in the 10th, scoring the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Evan Gattis.

Rangers starter Mike Minor retired the first five batters and had a 4-0 lead after three innings. But he ran into trouble in the fourth and fifth as the Astros rallied to tie it at 4-4, highlighted by home runs by Josh Reddick in the fourth and Yuli Gurriel in the fifth.

It became a battle of the bullpens after that with the Astros prevailing. Rangers right-hander Chris Martin took the loss.

The story of the night was Choo, who extended his MLB-best on-base streak which moved him into a tie for the second-longest such streak in Rangers history with Otis Nixon. Julio Franco holds the record with 46, set back in 1993.

But it further begs the question whether Choo is becoming more of a trade candidate with the deadline approaching at the end of the month. This is a guy who has been the Rangers’ best player.

Choo, who reached base again in the fourth with a single to center, entered Wednesday ranked seventh in on-base percentage (.398) in the league, and would provide a veteran presence at the plate for a stretch run for a contending team.

Choo, who turns 36 on July 13, would seem to be expendable for a Rangers team that is out of contention and doesn’t appear to have the makings of being a playoff threat next season.

Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister continues to like what he sees from rookie Willie Calhoun and Shin-Soo Choo (video by Jeff Wilson).

Getting as much of Choo’s salary off the books would make sense. He is still owed about $50 million, including $21 million annual salaries in 2019 and 2020. Choo is peaking at the right time where a contender may be willing to eat a significant portion of his remaining salary.

Plus, by trading Choo this season, it would eliminate the possibility of him gaining 10-and-5 rights which would give him leverage to block trades the next two seasons.

(Players who have at least 10 years of service time in the big leagues, including the past five seasons with a single team, are allowed to block trades. Choo is in his fifth season with the Rangers.)

Finally, trading Choo would clear a spot in the lineup for a prospect such as Willie Calhoun, who has been hot at the plate of late for Triple A Round Rock.

Things are always subject to change in professional sports, of course, but right now the signs are pointing toward trading Choo making more sense than not.

But, as stated, Choo would prefer to stick with the Rangers.

Shin-Soo Choo's walk-off homer on Saturday was the 176th of his career, the most ever by an Asian-born player.



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