It seemed highly unlikely that the Phillies would sign a deal with free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, and now, they definitely will not.
The 31-year-old South Korean outfielder has signed with the Rangers on a seven-year, $130 million deal. Having started his career in Seattle, he moved to Cleveland from 2006-12, and spent last season in Cincinnati. His presence in the AL West makes the formerly weak division all the more intimidating, with Robinson Cano joining the Mariners earlier in the offseason.
The Phillies, starting the winter in need of outfield help, were inititally listed as potential suitors for Choo. Their signing of Marlon Byrd early - very early - on seemed to decrease their need, though some experts predicted that their could still sign outfield (and they still might) but certainly none of the high profile free agents.
Of the free agent outfielders available, Choo was consistently ranked under Jacoby Ellsbury, who has signed with the Yankees, and was a hotly pursued entity on the market for teams seeking offense. Last season, he slashed .285/.423/.462, with 162 hits, 112 walks, and led the league in getting hit by pitches, with 26. The man gets on base - a nice quality to have in a leadoff hitter.
It seems more and more likely that Ruben Amaro does not have many high profile plans in store for the Phillies this offseason, verbalizing his confidence in what the Phillies currently look like often. The free agent the Phillies have been most closely linked to is Nelson Cruz, who remains "far apart" from returning to the Rangers (probably moreso now that they signed another offensive outfielder). If this pushes Cruz further into the open market, then perhaps Amaro could work out a deal he likes, but the Phillies seem intent on remaining low key.