The Cincinnati Reds could have a potential problem on their hands regarding outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. The 31-year-old will be a free agent after the World Series is over and could command too much money to remain with the organization. The Reds must figure out a way to re-sign Choo because there is no question he is the biggest offseason move the team will make this winter.
The good news is Cincinnati would like nothing more than to see Choo play center field for them in 2014. The bad news is his agent is Scott Boras, who believes the veteran deserves a contract of at least $100 million.
“The value of a leadoff hitter who has a .420 on-base percentage, 20-stolen base speed, 20-home run power, the ability to score 100 runs, and who has the ability to play center field and is a Gold Glove type defender in right field is immense,” Boras said, according to CBSSports.com. “We don’t see these types of players in the free-agent market.”
Choo had one of the best seasons of his career. It is true that his RBI numbers were not where they typically have been, but that is going to happen when a player is the leadoff hitter. The area of focus needs to be on how productive he was in the leadoff role. Not to mention, how much better players such as Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto performed because Choo was on base in front of them.
The fact that he ranked in the top-five among MLB center fielders in batting average, doubles, total bases, walks, on-base percentage and numerous other offensive categories proves just how good he truly was at the plate. He also continuously made great defensive plays in the outfield, which is a direct result of his .989 fielding percentage in 361 total chances.
It is no secret that several teams will be in contact with Boras about his client. I believe Choo will be one of the more sought after free agents during the offseason. Obviously, this does not help Cincinnati’s chances of bringing him back for a decent price. What also does not help is the organization has several key players they must re-sign.
I understand the Reds may be hesitant to invest a lot of money into a player that will turn 32 years old next season. However, it is a move that the franchise will not regret. Choo has been a very consistent player over the years. What Cincinnati sees is exactly what they get. To have someone with speed, decent power and the ability to reach base in the leadoff spot is irreplaceable.
Choo batted .285 with 21 home runs, 54 RBI, 34 doubles, 20 stolen bases and a career-high 112 walks in 569 at-bats.