LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Arizona Diamondbacks, fighting a dwindling fan base and apathy in the marketplace, are trying to steal a page out of the Seattle Mariners’ playbook by trying to sign free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
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The Diamondbacks are a surprise entrant in the Choo sweepstakes, a high-ranking club official told USA TODAY Sports. Choo would become the highest-paid player in franchise history, eclipsing $100 million. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing.
The Rangers also acknowledged that they are trying to sign Choo.
The Diamondbacks, 81-81, finished 11 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, and drew 2.1 million fans – the second-lowest attendance in the National League.
General manager Kevin Towers said Monday that they are aggressively trying to improve the team, and would also like to acquire a No. 1 starting pitcher besides a corner outfielder. The Diamondbacks have had trade talks with the Chicago Cubs about Jeff Smardzjia and the Tampa Bay Rays for David Price.
“As we’ve seen already it’s been pretty competitive in the free-agent and trade market,” Towers said. “We thought we had a pretty good chance a couple of days ago on Mr. Beltran and the Yankees reared their head and we lost out on that.
“I think we have the prospects to pretty much get anybody out there that we want to.”.