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Is Free-Agent Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo a Good Fit for the Texas Rangers?

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COMMENTARY | It's no secret that the Texas Rangers are looking for an outfielder.

Many names have been tossed around in recent weeks as possibilities to join the Rangers in the outfield in 2014: Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier, to name a few.

The name of one free agent outfielder has surfaced recently that would make a great fit with Texas if the Rangers are not able to re-sign Nelson Cruz -- 31-year-old Korean native Shin-Soo Choo. The former Mariners/Indians/Reds outfielder is reportedly on the Rangers' radar, according to the site MLB Trade Rumors.

Choo and his agent, Scott Boras, will be looking for the big contract that will be worth between $120 and $140 million covering six to seven years. If the Rangers could trade second baseman Ian Kinsler or shortstop Elvis Andrus, it would give them some payroll flexibility to sign a big-name free agent such as Choo.

Here are three reasons why Choo would make an excellent signing for Texas:

*On-base percentage. Choo gets on base at a very high rate, which is something the Rangers struggled with all last season. Choo's OBP in 2013 was .423, the fourth-highest in the major leagues behind only Cabrera, Votto, and Trout. Choo's career OBP is .389. His combination of speed (he averages 20 stolen bases per season) and a high OBP would give the Rangers a legitimate leadoff hitter for the first time in a long time.

*Versatility. Choo was primarily a right fielder until 2013, when he played center for the Reds. With the Rangers, Choo could play in right field and they could move Alex Rios over to left and keep Leonys Martin in center. Choo is versatile enough to play all three outfield positions.

* Power. Choo's average power season is 20 home runs with a high of 22 set in 2010 with Cleveland. The Rangers will need all the power they can get if Cruz departs. Choo's average season of 20 home runs and 81 RBIs combined with his OBP is the perfect production they are looking for from a corner outfielder.

Choo has been quietly consistent since his first full season in the big leagues with Cleveland in 2009. In 2013, some people took notice as he finished 12th in the NL MVP voting. He is a proven commodity who would provide just the spark the Rangers' offense needs and would fill a hole in the outfield at the same time.

Brian Honea is a Dallas, Texas-based freelance writer who is a lifelong Texas Rangers follower.

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