STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
Shin-Soo Choo passed his physical with the Texas Rangers, clearing the way for the completion of the outfielder’s $130 million, seven-year deal.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday night that Choo passed his physical and would be formally introduced in Texas on Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement from the team.
The Rangers scheduled a press conference Friday afternoon. The said only that it was to “announce a major free agent signing” and provided no other details.
Choo’s deal, worth about $18.6 million per season, is the third-highest this offseason. The deal was agreed upon last weekend, but was pending the completion of the physical.
Second baseman Robinson Cano got $240 million over 10 years from Seattle and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, like Choo, a client of agent Scott Boras, signed a $153 million, seven-year contract with the New York Yankees.
Choo started 150 games in center field and had a .423 on-base percentage last season for Cincinnati in his only year with the Reds. He hit .285 with 21 homers and 20 stolen bases and scored 107 runs as their primary leadoff hitter.
The Rangers will likely use Choo in left field because they have Leonys Martin in center and Alex Rios in right. And Choo could be their leadoff hitter.
The deal comes a month after the Rangers acquired five-time All-Star first baseman Prince Fielder in a trade with Detroit for second baseman Ian Kinsler, their primary leadoff hitter last season.
Both Fielder and Choo will be under contract through the 2020 season.
The Rangers, who won their only AL pennants in 2010 and 2011, missed the playoffs for the first time in four years. Texas scored only 730 runs, its fewest in a non-strike season since 1992.
Choo’s deal calls for salaries of $14 million in 2014 and 2015, $21 million in 2016 and 2017, and $20 million in each of the last three years of the deal. There are also performance bonuses and a limited no-trade clause.
Choo has a .288 career batting average and .389 OBP with 104 home runs and 427 RBIs in 853 major league games for Seattle (2005-06), Cleveland (2006-12) and Cincinnati. The 31-year-old South Korean had at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases three times, including last season.
AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.
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