2014 MLB Free Agency: 5 Potential Landing Spots for Shin-Soo Choo

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2014 MLB Free Agency: 5 Potential Landing Spots for Shin-Soo Choo

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Shin-Soo Choo has been one of the most underrated players since he was called up in 2005 by the Seattle Mariners. Choo was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2006, where he remained before he was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds in the 2013 offseason. The Reds were in desperate need of a leadoff man and a center fielder, and he delivered all season.

Choo hit .285 with 21 HRs and 54 RBIs out of the leadoff spot. He also stole 20 bases and walked 112 times, which allowed him to finish the season with a .423 OBP, which was second in the NL to teammate Joey Votto.

The Reds made it to the Wild Card game, but lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-2. Choo went 1-3 and scored both runs for the Reds in the game, including a solo home run.

Choo is a free agent for the first time in his career and will be one of the top outfielders on the market. It is a thin free agent crop this year with Choo, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Curtis Granderson being the best outfielders available.

The Cincinnati Reds are not likely to re-sign Choo this year. They have a lot of money locked into Joey Votto, so they wouldn’t be able to afford Choo unless he took a huge discount. Even if Choo was willing to sacrifice money, it seems as though the Reds are ready to turn the job over to top prospect Billy Hamilton.

A leadoff hitter with a high OBP and some power is something that almost every team in MLB could use. However, there are only a handful of teams that could afford Choo and would be willing to break the bank to get him.

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5. Texas Rangers

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With Nelson Cruz being a free agent this year, the Texas Rangers may decide against bringing him back due to the injury concerns and the steroid suspension from last year. What they are sacrificing in power, they will be making up for with defense, OBP and speed with Choo. The Rangers may decide to turn Jurickson Profar a full-time outfielder, which would make the signing of Choo unlikely.

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4. New York Mets

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The New York Mets have shed a ton of payroll over the past three years. They have gotten out of the contracts of Jose Reyes, Carlon Beltran and Johan Santana, which accounted for nearly $60 million. The Mets have the money to spend and are in desperate need of outfield help. The Mets' top three returning outfielders are Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda and Eric Young Jr. Those three players combined for 20 HRs last year, which is one less than Choo had by himself.

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3. Chicago Cubs

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The Chicago Cubs traded away Alfonso Soriano to make room for to prospect Junior Lake. They could take a portion of that salary and sign Choo to man center field for them. They are still in rebuilding mode, but a top of the lineup that includes Choo, Lake, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo would be a good start to getting the Cubs back on track.

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2. Seattle Mariners

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners were able to give a lot of their young talent some playing time last season. They have a good foundation in place with Brad Miller, Nick Franklin, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Mike Zunino. What they are lacking right now is a veteran outfielder like Choo. They tried last year with Michael Morse, but he was injured and ineffective after April. Signing Choo would give them the bats to compliment the young starting pitching they have and allow them to compete for one of the two Wild Card spots next season.

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1. Boston Red Sox

Red Sox
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox don't have very many holes to fill. However, Jacoby Ellsbury will be the second biggest bat on the free agent market behind Robinson Cano and may price himself out of what the Red Sox are willing to spend. Teams that are looking for a big bat like Ellsbury could offer as much as $18 million per season. The Red Sox could easily sign Choo for less than that and get close to the same production from him. While he doesn't possess the same base-stealing ability that Ellsbury does, he is an on-Base machine and will allow the guys behind him to always hit with somebody on base.