Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Which teams will pursue Choo?
By Joe Kaiser
Cincinnati's 31-year-old outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is sure to be a popular name this winter when he tests the free agent waters for the first time in his career. Choo, who is earning $7.375 million in his first year with the Reds this season, is set to join Carlos Beltran, Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury and Hunter Pence as the biggest outfield names available.
Choo has a number of factors that could make him appealing to just about any team in the league with the resources to sign him. For one, he takes a walk. Choo's 97 base on balls this season rank second in the MLB to teammate Joey Votto (116), and his .855 career OPS is certainly something that will get a general manager's attention. On top of that, along with Granderson and Ellsbury, he's one of the few big bats mentioned above capable of playing in center field. So which teams will pursue Choo this winter?
Here are the ones aside from Cincinnati, which would love to have him back for the right price, that are rumored to be interested or simply make a lot of sense:
- New York Mets -- Andy Martino of the NY Daily News writes today that "the chatter linking (the Mets) to Choo is spreading, both around the league and inside the organization." The Mets could certainly use Choo in right field as the long-term replacement to Marlon Byrd, but Martino reports that a source indicates they'll turn elsewhere if there's a bidding war for multi-tooled outfielder.
- Chicago Cubs -- The Cubs need to add offense, and Choo offers a potential difference-maker in that department who could get on base, drive in runs and take some pressure off of the team's young offensive core of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.
- Seattle Mariners -- If Choo returned to Seattle, the team he originally came up with before being traded to Cleveland in 2006, he could play virtually anywhere in the outfield. Seattle has money to spend (with less than $40 million committed to its 2014 roster) and probably would have to overpay to land him, but Choo would be a big offensive upgrade to Michael Saunders in right field and a solid veteran presence on an offensive core largely built around youth.
- San Francisco Giants -- The Giants are on the hook with Angel Pagan for the next three seasons, and are thought to be the favorite in the Pence sweepstakes. But with the window closing fast on a roster than won it all in 2010 and 2012 and only a few spots where it can upgrade, could SF go after both Pence and Choo? If they do, Choo would probably play in right field, and Pence -- who has just one outfield assist this season -- could fill the gaping hole in left.
We'll let you know when we hear of other teams showing interest in Choo, but you can bet that plenty of others like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles will be involved.