Shin-Soo Choo, surely the top free agent left in this market, is NOT going to New York. He's instead headed to the Texas Rangers.
Terms? Reportedly seven years and $130 million. But, wait, what about that 7/$140 offer that agent Scott Boras said the Yankees made and he had Choo decline?
Well, Boras was either lying about that 7/140 contract, or else bluffing, or else Choo doesn't want to be
on the big stage.
Yeah, some writers are already playing up the "no income tax in Texas" angle. But is New York's income tax THAT bad? Just on straight money value, it would have to be above 7 percent. (New York State's top marginal tax rate is 8.82 percent. Allowing for deductions, exemptions, etc. plus lower rates on submarginal income, and we're probably right about that 7 percent. In other words, a wash.) Plus the Rangers contract doesn't have a full no-trade clause.
So, yeah, writers? Instead of the "no income tax" angle, why not focus on the "Boras slapped down" angle. Given all the money that's awash in this year's free agent market, that's a serious story. This on top of draft choice slotting and other things? It's hard to argue that Boras star isn't, finally, in at least a bit of decline.
On the other hand, Tim Brown of Yahoo says the deal includes (unnamed) bonuses. So, stand by. It may turn out to be a wash. But, it still won't be better; not comparing straight salaries.
As for the Rangers?
Nelson Cruz already seemed out the door. This guarantees it. The Mariners are a likely landing spot, perhaps.
And, a speculative trade with the Dodgers for Andre Ethier is also gone, it would seem. I'm venturing other Rangers moves in days and weeks ahead will be minor, on the salary side.
Choo's OBP proclivity aside, given the speed of Elvis Andrus, I think I bat Choo in the No. 2 hole, if I'm Ron Washington. His walks and plate patience can only help in taking pitches for Andrus. Then Adrian Beltre in the 3 hole and Prince Fielder cleaning up. That also lets Wash do the right-left-right-left to start the lineup.
On the Yankees' side, the firmness with Boras has to mean they still hope to get under the lux tax threshold. It's still doable — but, realistically, only if Bud Selig gets to give Alex Rodriguez the whole year off.
The Yankees' worst nightmare would be arbitrator Fredric Horowitz OKing a 100-game suspension or something. The Yankees would still need a 3B replacement, but have part of A-Rod's contract still like an albatross.