Jul 23, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Choo hits a two-run home run in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field. (David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

Reds to Acquire Shin-Soo Choo from Cleveland Indians


Yes, the Twitterverse is all abuzz about the latest rumblings.

There is a three-team deal in the works. The Reds, Cleveland Indians and Arizona Dimondbacks are negotiating a deal which could involve as many as 7-9 players. Per a Ken Rosenthal tweet, part of this swapping would see the Reds land Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald. The Tribe get Drew Stubbs and a pitcher from the D’backs rumored to be either Trevor Bauer or Tyler Skaggs. Makes sense since Arizona inked Brandon McCarthy, but can’t see the D’backs letting either of those two go. The D’backs would obtain Didi Gregorius.

I’m guessing more will find new homes before the dust settles on this one…

Most see this trade as providing that bridge between this year and next year when Billy Hamilton will presumably be ready to take over center field. Yes, it is expected that Choo will play center instead of his usual position of right field.

While I like obtaining Choo, I will miss Stubbs and his defense in particular. I would go so far as to say Stubbs is among MLB”s top 5 defensive center fielders.

For those lamenting this deal because of either issues concerning team control or the fact that Michael Bourn is still out there, I have an opinion on both.

Giving up team control isn’t always a bad thing. With the Reds wanting to win (and win now according to many in baseball circles), this move solidifies that Reds are willing to make a move to win now. Trading away three years of control on Stubbs and six years on Didi may seem like a bad move, but it really isn’t. Zack Cozart is firmly the #1 choice at shortstop of the Reds front office. He can field, make no mistake about it. He can hit and I expect him to put up better numbers in 2013 than he did this last season. Most 2013 projections I have seen bear that.

Yes, projections are just that…

Stubbs had grown to almost be a villain to many Reds fans due to his strikeout numbers, but he has his supporters. I can say from experience that he’s as personable as any athlete I’ve met. Soft spoken and polite. Don’t see that much these days.

The other is a case of Choo versus Bourn. There are differences are stolen bases and defense. Yes, Walt and Company are taking a big gamble if they choose to put Choo in center. He’s only played there 10 games in his career. Choo won’t swipe 50 bags, but he is a threat to run, and sometimes, that’s all you need.

To put this a little more in the open from an offensive point of view…

Career triple slash:
Bourn – .272/.339/.365
Choo – .289/.381/.465

That’s a career OPS of .847 for Choo. Only one player currently on the Reds roster can surpass that: Joey Votto (.968).

Career SO% and BB%:
Bourn – 20.2% and 8.8%
Choo – 21.4% and 11.4%

Last season, these rates were almost identical for the pair. Bourn’s were 10.0% and 22.0% while Choo’s were 10.6% and 21.9%. Yet, Bourn was/is begging for a deal for five years and at around $100MM.

The other negative: Choo is represented by Scott Boras meaning he is pretty much a rental. Suffice to say, Choo will be a Red for only one year. Boras loves his clients to test the market, although now that I think about it, it might be time to re-evaluate that approach.

I love the offense Choo brings. Here’s how 2013′s batting order stacks…

Choo
BP
Votto
Ludwick
Bruce
Frazier
Cozart
Hanigan/Mesoraco
Pitcher’s spot

Like it lots.

I’m not in love with the defensive stance.

Chris Heisey may get even more late-inning work in next season.

UPDATE: Seems like the specifics are…The Reds acquire from Indians Choo, Donald and cash for Stubbs and Gregorius. The Indians send Gregorius, Lars Anderson and Tony Sipp to Arizona and acquire Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw from the D’backs.

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Tags: Cincinnati Reds Cleveland Indians MLB Hot Stove