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Shin-Soo Choo on Rangers: ‘We’re making the postseason. No question.’

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Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes isn’t the only one making bold proclamations on the eve of the beginning of the regular season. Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo said of his Rangers team, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “We’re making the postseason. No question.”

Last year, the Rangers missed the postseason, finishing in third place in the AL West with a 78-84 record. They were just two games behind the second-place Angels but 23 games back of the eventual world champion Astros. With the Astros entering 2018 arguably stronger than they did last year, the Rangers may be looking at the Wild Card as their way to get into the postseason.

For what it’s worth, FanGraphs is projecting the Rangers to finish 79-83 while Baseball Prospectus has them at 75-87. The Rangers didn’t make too many additions during the offseason, but were able to add Doug Fister, Matt Moore, and Mike Minor into the starting rotation.

Choo, 35, is entering the fifth year of his seven-year, $130 million contract signed with the Rangers in December 2013. Last season, he hit .261/.357/.423 with 22 home runs, 78 RBI, and 96 runs scored in 636 plate appearances.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.