When the Hot Stove season first heated up (!), many expected Shin-Soo Choo‘s name to feature prominently. He is, after all, a very good hitter and decentish corner outfielder with only one year remaining on his current contract.
The Clevelands need lots of everything and many teams could use a player like Choo. Enter the Reds, who are reportedly offering center fielder/strikeout machine Drew Stubbs and shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius for Choo and another player, according to The Knobler of Knobler Sports Baseball.
While acquiring Choo makes the Reds lineup better, it does present some confounding scenarios in their outfield. With Jay Bruce locked up long term and Ryan Ludwick signed for the next two years, the Reds are possibly entertaining the idea of using Choo in center?
Choo has a terrific throwing arm but using him, at age 30, in center seems hopeful at best. Jay Bruce has a decent defensive track record but that might be asking a lot at this stage of his career. Choo played a great total of 8 innings in center field since coming to the Indians in 2006.
There is the matter of Billy Hamilton, the base stealing phenom of the Reds low minors. A shortstop by trade, Hamilton just spent the Arizona Fall League trying his luck in center field, though this suggests the Reds think he’s at least two years away.
Defense indeed matters but a lineup of Choo/Phillips/Votto/Ludwick/Bruce at the top will score a lot of runs, perhaps enough runs to compensate for bad defense. It certainly worked for the 2011 Brewers – in the same division, no less.
The Tribe gets a guy who can play center field sort of cheap replacement for Asdrubal Cabrera, a name finding its own way into a serious number of trade rumors. The Indians are sort of a mess right now and Choo & Cabrera are their only pieces that might potentially move.
This is just Knobling for right now but, should the two Ohio teams pull the trigger on this trade it will make the NL Central incredibly interesting and the AL Central even less interesting. If Cleveland trades its two best players after the Twins trade one of their best players, weakening two teams already dangerously close to “doormat” status, maybe Kansas City really IS close to competing?! All part of Dayton Moore’s plan. HE TOLD YOU TO TRUST THE PROCESS, WILL YOU NEVER LEARN?