The New York Yankees’ well-known intentions to upgrade their roster have added another name to the mix in Cincinnati Reds’ free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Jon Heyman has reported that the Yankees have discussed Choo at their organizational meetings which could certainly perk up a lineup in need of any offensive help it can find.
Choo reached base at a .423 clip, good enough to finish second behind teammate Joey Votto in the National League. However, Choo is an outfielder and the Yankees currently have Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano and Brett Gardner under contract for next season. There are also reports the Yankees and Carlos Beltran have a mutual interest in joining forces this off-season.
There is a chance the Yankees could relegate Suzuki to a part-timer while fielding Gardner in center, Soriano at DH and left field and either Beltran, Choo or Suzuki in right. At this point, Wells is not guaranteed a roster spot since he won’t count towards the luxury tax with the Los Angeles Angels picking up most of the tab. The Yankees could simply grant Wells his release if they are able to sign an upgrade.
The Yankees interest in Choo might be nothing more than a simple discussion and not a genuine interest. That won’t be known until the Yankees extend an offer to Choo. The Yankees would be foolish not to at least discuss Choo as closing the door on any free agent would be a mistake. However, the Yankees have holes in other areas and figure to make re-signing Robinson Cano, adding a catcher who can hit (Brian McCann), possibly a third baseman depending on what happens with Alex Rodriguez, and solidifying the rotation and bullpen.
Right now, there is not much to the Choo rumors. It could be they prefer Choo to Beltran because of his age. It could be nothing more than due diligence. Any front office would be foolish to close the door on any player at this point so for now the door remains open and the speculation will run rampant.