The Texas Rangers officially introduced their latest offseason acquisition, outfielder and OBP machine Shin-Soo Choo, at a Friday afternoon press conference. It had all the usual welcome-to-town stuff — talk about winning the World Series from Choo while management lauded the guy they just agreed to pay $130 million over seven seasons.
The most interesting part might have been the not-so-subtle signal from the Rangers that free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz will not be coming back to Arlington. How do we know this? Well, Choo was introduced wearing No. 17, which is the number Cruz wore for the Rangers since 2007.
It's not exactly a surprise that Cruz won't be back. Bringing Choo aboard meant there wasn't room for him in the Rangers outfield (with Alex Rios and Leonys Martin penciled in as the other starters). But giving away his number so soon and so publicly is like taking down the Christmas tree on Dec. 26.
Choo will lead off for the Rangers, which makes sense because Ian Kinsler usually hit there last year and he's since been traded to the Detroit Tigers. Cruz's camp, meanwhile, can now focus on finding a new home for the slugging outfielder who has hit 135 homers in the past five seasons. The Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners have been linked to Cruz this winter.
And Rangers fans? Well, they can start figuring out the best way to DIY a Cruz No. 17 jersey into a Choo No. 17 jersey by opening day. Shouldn't be too hard. Some masking tape and painter's tape should do the trick.
If anyone completes the conversion quickly, tweet us a pic, OK?
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