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.
Today the Angels introduced their newest big star, Anthony Rendon, who just signed a seven-year, $245 million contract to play in Orange County.
And it is Orange County, not Los Angeles, Rendon stressed at the press conference. When asked about the Dodgers, who had also been reported to be courting him, Rendon said he preferred the Angels because, “the Hollywood lifestyle . . . didn’t seem like it would be a fit for us as a family.”
What “the Hollywood Lifestyle” means in that context could mean a lot of things I suppose. It could be about the greater media scrutiny Dodgers players are under compared to Angels players. It could mean that he’d simply prefer to live in Newport Beach than, I dunno, wherever Dodgers players live. Pasadena? Pasadena is more convenient to Dodger Stadium than the beach. Who knows. They never did let Yasiel Puig get that helicopter he wanted, so traffic could’ve been a consideration.
But maybe it’s a subtle allusion to political/cultural stuff. Orange County has trended to the left in some recent elections but it is, historically speaking, a conservative stronghold in Southern California. And, based on something else he said in his press conference, Rendon seems to be pretty conscious of geographical/political matters:
A shoutout to the notion of Texas being Trump country and an askance glance at “the Hollywood Lifestyle” of Los Angeles all in the same press conference. That’s a lot of culture war ground covered in one press conference. So much so that I can’t decide if I should warn Rendon that both Texas and Orange County are trending leftward or if I should tell him to stick to sports.