(Reuters) - The Texas Rangers say they signed South Korean outfielder Choo Shin-soo to a hefty contract for his versatility and will use him mostly as their lead-off hitter and in left field.
“My intention is to lead him off... (and) put him in left, but he also brings versatility, so you may see him in center, you might see him in right. He gives us options,” Texas manager Ron Washington told reporters as Choo was officially introduced as a team member on Friday.
The free agent signed a seven-year deal worth $130 million - the second-highest contract offered to a free agent by the Rangers behind Alex Rodriguez.
Choo batted .285 for the Cincinnati Reds last season and had a .423 on-base percentage, the fourth-highest in the majors.
He joins the Rangers on the heels of the team signing slugger Prince Fielder from Detroit.
“We feel we’ve added two impact players in the heart of our line-up... and at the same time held on to all our young players and actually added to that group,” said general manager Jon Daniels.
Choo, 31 and is married with three children, said he chose the Rangers for personal and professional reasons.
”Today is my dream come true,“ he said. ”My next dream is winning World Series ring.
“I looking for winning teams. I think about my family, how comfortable staying in city. I think Texas Rangers is best fit for me, very easy to pick.”
Choo made his major league debut in 2005, for the Seattle Mariners and later played for the Cleveland Indians before spending last season in Cincinnati.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry