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.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.