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Rangers are looking at Choo more than Ellsbury in market

Choo hit .285 with 21 home runs in 2013 for the Reds.(USATSI)
Choo hit .285 with 21 home runs in 2013 for the Reds. (USATSI)

The Rangers are considering a run at top-tier free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and apparently have ruled out the other top free agent outfielder, Jacoby Ellsbury.

Texas needs to replace offense provided by Nelson Cruz, and assuming the Rangers don't re-sign Cruz, Choo fits the bill. However, a Rangers connected person suggested they aren't likely to secure him if "rumored prices" are accurate.

That person didn't specify which rumors he was referring to, but word is out Choo and agent Scott Boras have previous deals for Jayson Werth ($126 million, seven years) and Carl Crawford ($142 million, seven years) in mind while gauging teams' interest in Choo and Ellsbury.

The Rangers aren't as interested in Ellsbury because they are pleased with center fielder Leonys Martin, who did a decent job as a rookie in 2013 and seems primed to take a step forward. It's possible Ellsbury could be more in play for Texas eventually, but Choo seems to be the main target for now.

Texas also has talked to Dodgers about their potentially available outfielders, including Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Crawford. Cruz and Curtis Granderson are among other free-agent outfielders, but there's been limited suggestion that there will be a reunion with Cruz, who was their top power hitter most of 2013.

The Rangers haven't often set the market, but word is they were willing to pay about the same $147 million over six years Zack Greinke received from the Dodgers. They also have a track record not shying away from Boras clients, as they signed Adrian Beltre for $80 million over five years (with a sixth-year vesting option that could make it $96 million) and their own Elvis Andrus to an eight-year, $120 million extension. The Rangers also heavily pursued Prince Fielder but fell short of the Tigers' winning, $214 million, nine-year deal.

Choo hit .285 with 21 home runs, capably filling the Reds' leadoff spot last year while also playing center field for the first time (though he is seen as a corner outfielder by other interested teams). He is attractive because of his .423 on-base percentage, second-best in the NL to teammate Joey Votto.

The Yankees, Mets and incumbent Reds are among several teams to have shown interest in Choo.

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