Report: Rangers offer seven-year deal to Shin-Soo Choo

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That seven-year offer to Shin-Soo Choo we heard about earlier? Well, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com has the scoop on where it came from:

According to a source, the Rangers have a seven-year offer on the table to free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and he is giving it serious consideration. The offer is less than the $153 million deal that Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the Yankees this off-season but is still strong enough for Choo to consider.

The Rangers had a two-hour meeting with Chin prior to the Winter Meetings and gave him a strong sales pitch about coming to Texas. Choo turned down a six-year offer from the Rangers, according to the source. But now it appears the Rangers have gone seven years and could have a good chance to sign him at possibly around $130 million.

That’s not quite the eight-year offer he is reportedly seeking, but unless the Mariners are somehow willing to blow everybody out of the water like they did with Robinson Cano last week, this might be the best he can do.

The best free agent left on the market, Choo batted .285/.423/.462 with 21 home runs, 54 RBI and 20 stolen bases over 154 games with the Reds this past season. The 31-year-old owns a .389 career on-base percentage.

UPDATE: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News hears that the Rangers and agent Scott Boras are having “ongoing conversations” regarding Choo, but that reports of a seven-year deal on the table are inaccurate. As with most of these reports, it’s hard to know what to believe, but we’ll continue to track it.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.