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It should not come as a surprise to any regular visitors of this site that I was beyond relieved to hear the news that Shin-Soo Choo signed with the Texas Rangers. Let the Rangers make a seven year mistake that will cost them $130 million.
In fairness, the Choo contract will not be a mistake for the first three or four seasons. Regardless of the fact that it seems at times that the Rangers are operating without any semblance of a plan, they are built to win now. The Prince Fielder trade was a perfect example of that, and teaming their new slugger with Choo will improve their lineup. At a minimum, the last two years of this contract will ultimately prove to be an albatross. But that does not matter if Choo helps them make the playoffs before that point.
The Astros and Jeff Luhnow have a legitimate plan that they have been following for the last two years. Committing seven years and $130 million to Choo would have been a clear, and potentially devastating, deviation from that plan. Although, if Luhnow would have been able to “steal” Choo at a discount in terms and years or dollars, then that would have been a different story.
What is clear, is that we are in a different era of baseball in Houston. Previously one of two things would have happened. Either Choo would have been signed to an outlandish contract to create an illusion that the Astros would be competitive and the franchise would have been hamstrung, or the Astros would never have even been in the discussion for a big ticket free agent.
At this point, I think the major off-season shopping is done for Luhnow, but I could see a few more complementary additions being made. We also must remember that the three biggest additions to the 2014 Astros will come from within, George Springer, Jonathan Singleton, and Mark Appel.