UPDATE: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News are both reporting that the deal is worth $130 million. That’s $10 million less than the reported offer from the Yankees, but when you figure the tax difference between the states, Scott Boras actually did pretty well for his client here.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports hears that it’s a straight seven-year, $130 million deal with a limited no-trade clause and no opt-outs or options. The deal will run through Choo’s age-37 season.
12:15 p.m. ET: Big news on what was originally expected to be a sleepy Saturday in the baseball world, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Rangers have agreed to a seven-year deal with free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News has confirmed the report. No word yet on the exact dollar amount.
We heard earlier this week that Choo had previously turned down a seven-year, $140 million offer from the Yankees, so it will be interesting to see if Scott Boras was able to top that. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has been coy about his interest in Choo this winter, but they reportedly offered him a seven-year deal at the Winter Meetings.
This is the second major splash of the winter for Daniels, as he traded second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Tigers for first baseman Prince Fielder in November. The Rangers were seventh in the American League in runs scored this past season, but that lineup is suddenly looking quite potent again with Choo at the top and Fielder in the middle.
Choo, 31, hit .285/.423/.462 with 21 home runs, 54 RBI and 20 stolen bases over 154 games with the Reds in 2013. He has a .389 career on-base percentage.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.