With their press conference to introduce Shin-Soo Choo, the Texas Rangers tied up some loose ends when it comes to the rest of their off-season. General manager Jon Daniels said that he contacted Nelson Cruz‘s agent to thank the outfielder and wish him well, all but assuring that he will have to find a new team.
The big news also gave Daniels the chance to address the Rangers’ potential interest in the big starting pitching target on the market, the recently-posted Masahiro Tanaka. Linked to him at various points this winter, the Rangers are now out on his bidding according to Daniels (via Richard Durrett of ESPN):
#Rangers co-chairman Bob Simpson said club is over budget and they are happy where they are now: Tanaka unlikely.
— Richard Durrett (@espn_durrett) December 27, 2013
This likely ends the possibility of a rotation that would have included Tanaka and Yu Darvish. On the surface, you would assume that most teams would choose to spend big money on a seven-year contract for a 25-year-old starting pitcher rather than a 31-year-old outfielder.
But it wasn’t that simple for the Rangers. When they agreed to terms with Choo it wasn’t known if the Rakuten Golden Eagles would post Tanaka or not. And of course there is no guarantee the Rangers would have been the team to beat out the other interested teams for him.
They saw an opportunity to boost their lineup and try to overwhelm opponents with their offense, and they grabbed it. Now they will sit things out while the rest of the league, including teams in their division, compete for Tanaka.