Where Will He Sign: Shin-Soo Choo
In a new offseason feature BHC writers will explore the possible landing spots for high priced free agents. In the first edition of “Where Will He Sign” the staff analysed the possible teams in play for the services of outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
Chris Lacey @aecanada12: For Choo the team that makes the most sense is the Seattle Mariners with them needing offense and having cash to spend. He’s a great lead off hitter that knows how to score runs and get on base. Choo has a great chance to inject some life into an offense that was stagnant last season.
Travis Richardson @TravRichard: Whoever lands Shin-Soo Choo is going to be spending money, ludicrous money, even big market money to land him. Shin`s agent, the impeccable Scott Boras, has gone on record saying Choo is looking for more money than Jayson Werth received from the Nationals in the 2011 offseason, which is $126 million. So I`m going with the Texas Rangers, who LOVE spending insane amounts of money on risky players, not to mention that Hamilton isn`t working out and they may lose Nelson Cruz. The South Korean will give the Rangers experience, like they need any, an above average bat, and a good glove.
Marc Keller @mrarmchair: I think Shin-Soo Choo will sign with the Seattle Mariners and move back to his natural position of left field, where he is more comfortable. With the Mariners having their first round pick protected due to it being inside the top 10, #6 overall (teams with a top 10 first round pick don’t have to forfeit their pick as compensation for signing a free agent who received a qualifying offer), they can afford to sign Choo (who received a qualifying offer from the Cincinnati Reds) without having to sacrifice a potential first round prospect.
Paul Jack @PaulJackSports: How about the Chicago Cubs? Currently they are in a rebuilding mode however you have to start somewhere with some experience. Choo is 31 years old so he can have 3-4 productive years ahead of him if he can stay healthy. His OBP last year with Cincinnati was .423 and his lifetime OBP is .389, he has the skills to get the job done at the top of the lineup. Right now the projected leadoff hitter is Starlin Castro who sports a lifetime OBP of .322, that’s 77 points lower than Choo. Might be time to infuse some veteran help to the Cubs lineup, the White Sox are beyond hope on offense so don’t bother there.
Brendan Panikkar @Panikkar37 : Shin-Soo Choo was a dynamic leadoff hitter this past season for the Cincinnati Reds. A constant source of getting on-base whether it be hit by pitch, walks, hits, or his decent source of power, Choo is a healthy mix of everything you would love to have in a leadoff hitter. Many teams such as the Royals, Mets, and Tigers, have been known to be interested in improving their outfield but personally, I see the New York Mets making the hardest push for Shin-Soo Choo. In a perfect world, the Mets would land Choo and another outfielder. Choo won’t come cheap and expect a bidding war for him. The Mets have already shown interest in Curtis Granderson should Choo not work out, but in my mind, he goes to the Mets.
Patrick Gilbride @PatrickG42: One of the biggest free agents this off-season will be outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and will receive lots of attention from numerous teams. As a Boras client, he will be demanding top dollar from the team who signs him, which will be upward of $100 million. The team I most see him going to is the Washington Nationals, who have some trouble at the top of the line-up where Choo could definitely improve. Denard Span is rumored to be shopped, and was a disappointment in his first season in Washington. Choo’s .423 OBP was ranked fourth in all of MLB, while Span’s .327 was ranked 89th behind players like Russell Martin and Justin Smoak. Not someone you would want at the top of the order. A line-up of Choo, Desmond, Harper, Zimmerman, LaRoche and Werth would be a huge improvement.
Brandon Jopko @pumpedupjays: For me, I’ve always thought Choo’s destination would be New York, but the actual New York team I had in mind may in fact be wrong. The New York Yankees, by all accounts according to MLBTR, seem to be the frontrunners, but I wouldn’t discount the Rangers or Red Sox just yet. The Rangers have an opening in LF, and the Sox could play him in CF for another year before shifting him to LF when Gomes is a free agent. The Yankees however, could easily put him in RF now shifting Ichiro and Wells to bench roles. Plus they have some cash to spend, so the Yanks it is!
Ryan Walton @RyanWaltonMLB : Choo will sign with the Chicago Cubs is my fearless prediction. When it comes to players like Choo who are going to demand top dollar, there are only a handful of teams that can afford his services. With Theo Epstein and company running the show, Choo will get his big payday of over $100 million. It would be easy to think that Epstein would place a higher value on Jacoby Ellsbury being from Boston but Choo can do what Ellsbury does to some extent and is far less of a health concern.
Clayton Richer @MLBHotCorner: Choo would be a welcomed addition to any of the 30 MLB teams vying for baseball supremacy. Choo brings a rare combination of speed and power to the game and has been a model of consistency throughout his entire career. In 2013, Choo reached the 20/20 plateau for the third time in his career and has never had an .OPS under .800 in any season where he has played more than 100 games. The only issue with Choo is that he is represented by none other than Scott Boras eliminating many teams from negotiating due to the large Jayson Werth style contract he is seeking. My prediction is the Cincinnati Reds know first hand the abilities that Choo possesses and will pony up the money and lock up their right-fielder for the long term.