Is Shin-Soo Choo’s time in the Queen City in even greater jeopardy?
With the GM Meetings to commence on Monday, there’s has been maybe a little more talk about the Reds than some fans might like to read. Deals are less likely to be done, but groundwork either for a trade or a free agent signing can have the groundwork laid at these meetings.
Now consider this tweet as one of those and it involves Shin-Soo Choo.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 9, 2013
So let’s look back at the deal Jayson Werth received from the Washington Nationals.
Werth’s deal, which was panned by many at the time, was seven years at the $126MM price tag Crasnick notes in his tweet. As far as its particulars, Werth received a signing bonus of $4MM and annual salaries as follows: ’11 – $10M, ’12 – $13M, ’13 – $16M, ’14 – $20M, ’15 – $21M, ’16 – $21M, ’17 – $21M.
Before I go any further, I will note that there is no reference to the numbers of years, but let’s assume that number is seven. And one other note: Werth is represented by Scott Boras as well. Werth switched agents leading into his walk year in Philly.
When Werth inked that deal in December of 2010, he was 31 years of age and turned 32 the following May. Coincidentally, Choo is 31 and will turn 32 next July. All of two months difference.
Of course, would a team be willing to give a deal to Choo as the Nats did with Werth is the issue at hand. If this is the case, I sincerely doubt the Reds would go for seven years. As Boras discovered, there was one team willing to do a deal of that length with Werth, so who’s to say there isn’t a team out there that would do the same for Choo.
That’s all it takes. One team.
How are the numbers from a statistical point of view when look at Werth and Choo? You have one less year of stats from Werth as he missed the entire 2006 season recovering from two torn ligaments in his left wrist.
In the years leading up to and including their walk year, here’s some numbers. (For Choo, these will actually be his career numbers.)
Werth: .272/.367/.481, OPS+ 121, bWAR 20.3, fWAR 21.6
Choo: .288/.389/.465, OPS+ 134, bWAR 25.6, fWAR 23.6
The difference between these two isn’t necessarily reflected in these numbers. It’s in how each is currently utilized. During the 2012 season when he was in Cleveland, Choo was shifted from third to the leadoff spot. He’s been a mainstay there, taking over 80% of his PA as the lineup’s top guy. Werth is used mainly as a middle of the lineup guy, batting anywhere between second to sixth in the Nats lineup.
Defensively, we needn’t delve too much into that. Last season, Choo would be labeled as deficient, even though the Reds were happy with the way he patrolled center for them. Most teams still view Choo as a corner outfielder. That’s where Werth spends the majority of his time as well, corner outfield. The defensive numbers indicate that for 2013, Werth was better defensively than Choo.
Having the ability to play center can add to the attraction, but Werth has played there a time or two as well. I honestly don’t believe playing an entire season as a center fielder added to Choo’s value. I don’t think it hurt that value either.
Before you poo-poo the possibility of Choo receiving such a lucrative deal and seeing as Boras is looking a better one than what Werth received, the idea isn’t as far-fetched as you think.
And with this, the chances of Choo staying in Cincinnati appear slimmer and slimmer.