Archive for the ‘Shin-Soo Choo’ Category

MLB: Cincinnati Reds-Workout

Their lineup is top-heavy, but fearsome. Their rotation at worst reliable and at best dominant. With Aroldis Chapman at the back, the bullpen puts up good numbers in its own right.

Claiming the Cincinnati Reds are a good baseball club is barely necessary – three playoff appearances and three 90-win seasons in four years does all the heavy lifting. Despite this recent success, 2014 is the dawn of a new era in the Queen City. A new manager, a new outlook and a roster in transition suggest strange things are afoot at the Great American Ballpark.

Anytime a club changes managers they can expect (or hope for) a new culture. Dusty Baker is among the most iconoclastic managers in baseball, so parting ways with a larger than life skipper, and bringing aboard just about anybody else will usher in a new experience in the clubhouse. Beyond Baker’s unmistakable thumbprint, the Reds face question marks around the diamond for the first time in years.

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers

They certainly do things bigger in Texas. Mere weeks after taking on the considerable carriage that is Prince Fielder and the eight years remaining on his contract, it appears the Rangers just went out and spent a whole ‘nother truckload of money, signing Shin-Soo Choo to a seven year deal per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

There is a lot to like about a seven-year deal for Shin-Soo Choo. He’s an excellent baseball player and has been for some time. He is fresh off the best season of his career, leading the National League in on base percentage while putting up the highest overall offensive numbers of his career.

There are some potential red flags in Choo’s numbers, of course. The inordinately high number of times he reached base by hit by pitch for one, his vulnerability against left-handed pitching is another. But as far as safe bets as far as players who should age with dignity, Choo ranks pretty high.

The Rangers get exactly what they need – a REAL leadoff hitter. Choo replaces the departed-to-Detroit Ian Kinlser, though Choo’s approach is much more consistent with traditional (in the modern sense) leadoff guy. He sees a ton of pitches and gets on base like crazy. Should the Rangers continue to deploy Elvis Andrus from the two spot, well it’s their funeral.

The upgrade from Choo to Cruz is not insignificant, as Choo is both a better offensive player and a much, much better fielder. The Korean outfielder won’t be asked to play much center field for Texas so his strong arm and dependable glove can rest easy in left field, as the rangy Alex Rios patrols right field for the Rangers again in 2014.

Reports suggest the deal is worth $130 million over the seven yeas, with limited no-trade protection but no bonuses or options (via Jeff Passan.) Interesting term considering reports earlier this month suggest Choo turned down seven years and $140 from the Yankees. The lack of state tax in Texas makes up the difference in total dollars, Twitter accountants are quick to point out.

The $130 million dollar question remains: is Shin-Soo Choo actually going to earn this very large paycheck? He is a superstar player? Probably not. He’s very good but now being paid as one of the top outfielders in the game. For all his skills, he is hardly a power hitter so what happens when his bat starts to slow with age? As suggested in this space previously, the track records of players with Choo’s skill set as they zoom past the age of 32 is a little scary, but there is hope in the shape of Bobby Abreu.

No matter how Choo ages, the 2014 Rangers team is going to be very, very good. There is still room to upgrade their rotation but an offense of Choo-Beltre-Fielder-Rios-Moreland-Soto-Andrus-Profar-Martin is pretty good indeed. There are upgrades and then there are UPGRADES. The Rangers won 91 games last year and now claim two very good players who will only benefit from the advantages their new home ballpark provides. Yikes. Good luck, Seattle. I’m sure Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez are more than enough to overcome this talented group all on their own.

MLB: New York Mets at Cincinnati Reds

Shin-Soo Choo is a very good baseball player and a few short days away from becoming very rich. Likely the top remaining free agent option, Choo and his representatives are gunning for a nine-digit pay day, banking on a cash rich market that will pay for a man of his considerably baseball skills.

His skillset is unique in baseball right now. Not a power hitter, Choo managed 21 home runs as a member of the Reds, one off his career high. Brought in as a leadoff hitter, Choo did the job admirably, raising his walk rate and posting the highest on-base percentage of his career.

His .423 OBP was one of the higher marks over the last six years in the league. After an injury limited Choo in 2011, he stormed back in 2012 and 2013, putting his talents on display before diving into free agency.

But those talents – how might they age? At a rate consistent with the enormous (though likely reduced) paycheck he is sure to command?

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers

Most free agent choices aren’t actually choices at all. Rarely is a bidding team in on more than one player of the same position, it seems to me. They might inquire on more than one guy but generally seem to settle into on a particular player, for whatever reason.

The 2013 feeding frenzy season is upon us. None of the big fish are in the boat yet, all the teams angling (!) for an upgrade have some interesting choices to make.

Say you’re in the market for a corner outfielder. There are some nice names to pick through. Somebody is going to throw a whole pile of money at a player who might not deliver on their promise. Somebody else might make a nice little value pick up at a fraction of the cost. Turns out the two players are more similar than it seems.

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Seattle Mariners v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

If this post took the word “anatomy” used in the headline to its illogical conclusion, it would describe the “anatomy” in terms of the 200-or-so pounds of American male from the great state of New Jersey, consisting mainly of very fast twitch muscle fibers. How sinewy legs fired like pistons as the featured participant of the play in question from yesterday’s Reds/Angels game – a game the Reds went on to win 5-4 – put his team in position to score with his heart, his head, and his physical gifts.

This post won’t really do that. It will instead detail the manner in which Mike Trout, by force of sheer athletic will, stole second base from Shin-Soo Choo in the seventh inning. It will also detail the manner in which Emilio Bonifacio sensed an opportunity and exploited Michael Bourn so badly you’d think Bourn worked at Foxconn, not Progressive Field.

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Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Indians

Considering the overwhelming number of transactions made this off-season, that Shin-Soo Choo now plays for the Cincinnati Reds might have slipped your mind. But he does! Choo, good for close to a .300/.400/.500 season like clockwork before injury slowed him in 2011.

Choo is both a fine hitter and decent outfielder, though advanced defensive metrics absolutely hated him in 2012. His well-regarded throwing arm is both accurate and strong, his range as a 30-year old may leave something to be desired.

What a great time for a bounce back season, the Reds must believe. Headed into free agency, the Reds have the bold idea that they will move Choo to center field. What could possibly go wrong? According to Shin-Soo Choo, plenty. Via the Cincinnati Enquirer: Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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