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Wednesday newsletter time: Rangers make a decision on their 2023 outfield. More are ahead

(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)

 

 

The Rangers’ first player transaction of the offseason came down Tuesday afternoon, when they formally declined the club option on outfielder Kole Calhoun.

The move was expected after Calhoun started slow and then faded steadily after his bat showed some life in June and July. His playing time declined over the final two months as the Rangers gave his at-bats to rookie Bubba Thompson.

Calhoun wasn’t going to come back, not for $5.5 million and not with the Rangers in need of 40-man roster spots for prospects who need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft.

The Rangers are expected to look for an outfield bat that could upgrade the lineup. Even though Thompson and Leody Taveras are very good defensively and have game-altering speed, they need to show they can get on base consistently.

The contend-in-2023 Rangers might not wait around on either of them. The thinking here is Taveras is the Opening Day center fielder and Thompson makes the team as an extra outfielder.

Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran are working on transitioning to the outifeld. Duran will report to Aguilas of the Dominican Winter League on Friday to play center field. Don’t count out Aaron Zavala from contributing in 2023 even though he underwent elbow surgery last month and won’t be able to play until May.

Could the Rangers try a one-year deal for an outfielder, like Joey Gallo, while the young outfielders get more time to develop? A multi-year contract for an outfielder could lead to the Rangers deal from that group of young outfielders.

Choo a champ

Shin-Soo Choo is champion, finally.

The 40-year-old former Rangers outfielder/designated hitter helped lift SSG Landers to the Korea Baseball Organization championship, batting .320 as the leadoff man as his team won the title in six games.

“I can die in peace now,” Choo told the Yonhap News Agency. “I feel like I have everything.”

Choo, who lives in Southlake, finished his second season in KBO, where he had never played until 2021. He played 16 seasons in the majors, the final seven with the Rangers after he signed a seven-year, $130 million contract after the 2013 winter meetings.

He was an All-Star in 2018 and played on Rangers division-winners in 2015 and 2016.

Choo is contemplating retirement, but he told Yonhap that he might consider a run at another title. He posted a .259/.382/.430 slash line this season in 499 at-bats, missing time late in the season with a broken rib.

World Series thoughts

This isn’t the most timely nugget in the world, but a couple people have asked what I thought about the World Series. The Astros clinched it Saturday night in six games over the Phillies, and I’m sure I was one of many who predicted Houston in six.

I thought it was a great World Series. Outside of Game 2, each game had something compelling happen.

The series-clinching homer by Yordan Alvarez was a monster shot over the batter’s eye, and afterward Lance McCullers Jr. said the only other battered he’d seen go there was Joey Gallo with the Rangers. McCullers was correct.

Rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena was selected as the World Series MVP,  but I think it should have gone to left-hander Framber Valdez. He allowed two runs in 12 1/3 innings and won both his starts, including the clincher.

The Rangers have a ton of work to do before they can catch the Astros.

Doggy video!

Impressive stealth and quickness. Enjoy.

 

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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