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Inbox: What is Choo's trade value these days?

Beat reporter T.R. Sullivan answers questions from fans
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

With Shin-Soo Choo's on base percentage (.400) and batting average (.288) so far through the 2018 season, has his trade value increased?
-- Byron C., Livingston, Texas

To the Rangers' surprise, they have not had much play on Choo during this trade cycle. He has certainly reinforced his value as an offensive player, but there are still some obstacles. He still has two more years and $42 million on his contract, and he is still perceived to be primarily a designated hitter. That would largely eliminate National League suitors and the American League contenders appear to be set at designated hitter.

With Shin-Soo Choo's on base percentage (.400) and batting average (.288) so far through the 2018 season, has his trade value increased?
-- Byron C., Livingston, Texas

To the Rangers' surprise, they have not had much play on Choo during this trade cycle. He has certainly reinforced his value as an offensive player, but there are still some obstacles. He still has two more years and $42 million on his contract, and he is still perceived to be primarily a designated hitter. That would largely eliminate National League suitors and the American League contenders appear to be set at designated hitter.

How plausible is the following trade? The Yankees receive Cole Hamels (Rangers pay most of his remaining salary and/or buy out) and Keone Kela. The Rangers receive pitcher Sonny Gray, infielder Brandon Drury, outfielder Clint Frazier and a player to be named later, maybe pitcher Chance Adams (ranked No. 4 in the Yankees' farm system by MLB Pipeline).
-- Brian S., Katy, Texas

That is a complicated and interesting trade, but initial analysis suggests -- if Adams is involved -- the Yankees would be asked to give up too much given they don't have an overwhelming need for a premium reliever because they have Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances to head their bullpen. It would depend on how much the Yankees feel Hamels is an upgrade over Gray.

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What are the chances the Rangers sign Keone Kela to a long-term deal to be the closer of the future?
-- Austin R., Nocona, Texas

Kela is 25 and can be a free agent after 2020. A four-year deal could make sense to both sides, but the Rangers -- since Jon Daniels became general manager -- have been reluctant to do long-term deals with closers in the past.

Why did the Texas Rangers draft so many center fielders and shortstops in the past several Drafts and international periods?
-- Jose D., Pharr, Texas

The Rangers place a premium on athleticism, and on most amateur teams, the best athletes are usually the shortstop and center fielder. Overlooking highly skilled players at other positions is perilous, but the best overall players are usually found at those spots and can easily be moved to other positions if necessary.

Am I wrong to state that the Rangers will have trouble contending for a World Series spot again until they stop plugging in veteran pitchers and hoping for a miracle season, and start going after a top-of-the-line free agent?
-- Doug H., Orange, Texas

The Astros have the best rotation in baseball with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole acquired by trade, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. developed in their system and Charlie Morton being a shrewd free-agent signing. The top free agents this winter supposedly were Jake Arrieta (7-6, 3.47 ERA), Yu Darvish (1-3, 4.95 ERA), Lance Lynn (7-8, 5.23 ERA) and Alex Cobb (2-13, 6.17 ERA). The Rangers priority right now needs to be rebuilding their farm system -- which they are doing -- and developing their own pitching, which is a work in progress.

Is it obvious -- with the overstock of infielders and lack of catching talent in the majors -- that Isiah Kiner-Falefa would be a wonderful catching prospect?
-- Jenna L., Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

Yes. Completely agree. The Rangers are strongly leaning in that direction as well.

Why would anybody even think about trading Jurickson Profar? Wouldn't Rougned Odor be the logical choice to trade? Give Profar two to three years like Odor and he will be a much better player.
-- Jeremy Z., Dallas, Texas

First of all, Odor deserves great credit for how much he has improved this season. Secondly, in two to three years, Profar is going to be a free agent while Odor is signed through 2020. Profar is still a valued player, but the commitment to Odor is still a compelling factor.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers