What Would You Say to Shin-Soo Choo?


From the department of “If you can’t get ’em out, get ’em here!”…

Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi combined on a piece for MLB Buzz. The main point was the the San Francisco Giants have interest in Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez. While Perez is by no means of interest to the Reds (or at least I highly suspect he isn’t), the other player they mentioned that the Indians could entertain in moving is Shin-Soo Choo.

Note: could

While trading either Perez or Choo would be a tough blow to the Tribe’s faint hopes of still contending this year, it’s safe to say it could create a hole for 2013 as well. But could this create an opportunity for the Reds? We know that Choo has feasted off Reds pitching this season (.407/.448/.926, 3 HR, 4 RBI) and for his MLB career (.351/.426/.713, 7 HR, 16 RBI in 24 games).

What could prove to be a significant hurdle is what the Indians would like in return. They are seeking a starting pitcher and a righty bat, areas Cleveland wanted to improve upon before their current 3-7 skid began. Any players the Indians would like in return would need to be MLB-ready, too. The Reds could help them with a right-handed bat as they are right-handed heavy, but if the Indians pressed for a starter to be added or just a starter alone, then I would imagine the Reds would bow out of any discussions.

Unless the Giants deal a starter to Cleveland in exchange for Perez.

With Choo, the Reds could tackle two issues: lead-off and the addition of a lefty bat. Cleveland’s offense seemed to have stepped it up a notch once Choo was inserted into the lead-off role. For this year, his slash from the lead-off spot is .317/.382/.546 with 10 HR and 25 RBI. That’s in 60 games.

His contract isn’t too shabby either as he’s on a one-year deal which has him making a total of $4.9MM. Next year, he is arbitration eligible. The impending issue wouldn’t so much be what he could garner in arbitration, but that Choo would be eligible for free agency after next season. And if think that’s not a big deal, Choo is a client of Scott Boras who loves for his guys to test the waters. There’s probably already a binder in the works.

The other issue would be that of right field which is Choo’s primary defensive position. I don’t think there would be too many that would be in favor of moving Jay Bruce over to left or even to center. Provided this were deal were to drop out of the sky, the more likely scenario would be Choo making the switch to left. He has played there in 58 games, but the last time was in 2009. And if you’re thinking center field, he’s only played there a total of 10 games and, like left, not since 2009.

Would be a nice addition, but at what cost? We’ve also “heard” that the Reds aren’t likely to make a “big” deal. Not sure of this would qualify as “big”, but it sure wouldn’t be small.