The Texas Rangers have filled the Texas-sized hole in their outfield, agreeing to a seven-year, $130 million contract with former Cincinnati Red Shin-Shoo Choo according to Jon Heyman of CBS. Choo's signing is the second major move by the Rangers this winter after they dealt long-time second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Tigers for first baseman Prince Fielder.
The 31-year old Choo will likely end up in left field for the Rangers, due to the presence of Leonys Martin in center and Alex Rios in right. Former left fielder David Murphy signed a two-year contract with the Indians earlier this offseason, while former right fielder Nelson Cruz declined his qualifying offer. Texas didn't seem too inclined to bring Cruz back after a 50 game suspension as part of the Biogenesis investigation earlier in 2013.
Choo had a fine season for the Reds in 2013, hitting .285/.423/.462 with 21 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Even playing out of position in center field, Choo managed to rack up 5.2 fWAR, the second-best mark of his career. That .423 on-base percentage was the fourth-best mark in all of baseball, behind just AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, former teammate Joey Votto, and the near-flawless Mike Trout. The Rangers can easily slide Choo into one of the top spots in their lineup, allowing them to move either Leonys Martin or Elvis Andrus, neither of whom is really known for their on-base skills, further down in the lineup.
Choo will make roughly $18.6 million per season, and gets $23 million less over the life of his seven-year contract than Jacoby Ellsbury. He was reportedly targeting a contract similar to that of Ellsbury's, but ended up falling short in terms of dollars and equaling it in years. However, the lack of a state income tax in Texas likely closes the gap in terms of total value.