The Texas Rangers formally introduced their most recent prize acquisition with a press conference on Friday afternoon, and some contract details emerged in the process. The Rangers and Shin-Soo Choo agreed to a seven-year, $130 million deal almost a week ago, but the details were not known until now.
The contract will be backloaded, with Choo earning $14 million for 2014-15, before it escalates up to $20 million for 2016-18, and then bumps to $21 million for the final two years of the contract (2019-20), according to Stephen Hawkins of The Associated Press. Choo will also receive bonuses for certain awards, with the largest being $250,000 for MVP, followed by $150,000 for World Series MVP, and $100,000 each for All-Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and League Championship Series MVP honorifics.
Choo is the second major addition to a Texas lineup that put up only 730 runs this past season, missing the playoffs for the first time in four years, following Prince Fielder's acquisition from Detroit. Choo and Fielder are two of the most successful players at getting on-base, trailing only Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera in times on base over the past two seasons.
The signing brings Texas' payroll up into the $130 million range, a figure more than twice the amount from when Owner/Co-Chairman of the Board Bob Simpson's group purchased the team. While the Rangers are comfortable in that range, it is unlikely that they'll find themselves involved in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes:
"We're probably comfortable where we are in terms of financial commitments," Simpson said. "Tanaka would be a tough thing."
Choo is only the latest in a healthy line of big expenditures that have come since Simpson's group took over. It follows the $111 million spent on acquiring Yu Darvish, the $80 million contract given to Adrian Beltre (could be $96 million if an options vests), and the $120 million extension handed to Elvis Andrus, which is set to begin in 2015. All this on top of the $168 million still owed to Prince Fielder, though $30 million of that is being covered by the Tigers.
Conveniently, the payouts to Choo kick in just as the Tigers' payments for Fielder begin, effectively allowing for no change in overall payroll for the 2016-18 seasons per Cot's Contracts of Baseball Prospectus. Texas has remained aggressive in locking up their core players, with commitments to Fielder, Choo, and Andrus stretching to 2020 (2022 in the case of Andrus). They have also locked in players such as Darvish, Matt Harrison, and Martin Perez through 2017, with Derek Holland having options to cover 2017-18.