Heyman: Yankees have interest in Shin-Soo Choo

Mailbag: Phillips, Logan, Wilson, Butler
RAB Live Chat

Via Jon Heyman: Impending free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is among the players the Yankees have on their radar for the upcoming offseason. Outfield help is below some other positions (pitching, third base, shortstop, catcher) on their priority list but they will look for upgrades, says Heyman. Makes sense.

Choo, 31, hit .285/.423/.462 (151 wRC+) with 21 homers and 20 steals in a career-high 712 plate appearances for the Reds while being miscast as a center fielder this summer. He is not without his flaws, most notably below-average defense (even in right) and a general inability to hit lefties (83 wRC+ since 2011). Injury concerns have subsided after back-to-back seasons of 150+ games and four of at least 140 games in the last five years. The fit is very obvious for the Yankees even with the defense and southpaw problems.

The Reds will surely make Choo a qualifying offer, so he’ll cost a draft pick to sign. That doesn’t really bother me for a player of this caliber though. The FanGraphs crowdsourcing — which was surprisingly accurate last year — peg Choo for a five-year, $80M-ish contract, which actually seems a little light to me, especially after Hunter Pence got five years and $90M. If the Yankees are going to hand out a big contract to a non-Robinson Cano player this winter, I’d rather see it go to a catcher and/or a starting pitcher. There appears to be a decent amount of short-term outfield help available (Carlos Beltran? David Murphy?).

Mailbag: Phillips, Logan, Wilson, Butler
RAB Live Chat
  • nyplatoonsplits

    Great idea! Another put them all on your list Yankees because this team has a ton of hole and most of those holes are being filled with junk so start adding every day players.

  • Laz

    I would jump at the chance to sign him for $80M/5. I don’t think he signs that low. Imo, they should look into signing multiple top free agents if they are giving up their draft pick, rather than sign one each year.

  • nyplatoonsplits

    Shin-Soo Choo
    Brian McCann
    Jacoby Ellsbury
    Stephen Drew
    Omar Infante
    Carlos Beltran
    Robinson Cano
    Jhonny Peralta
    Michael Young
    Carlos Ruiz

    Go out and add all you want. Maybe you’ll actually be able to make some trades during the season cuz right now there is nothing to trade on this team.

    People were talking about Gardner for the Panda. Where do I sign?

  • Bavarian Yankee

    I’ve always been a big fan of Choo but the rumoured contract numbers (5/100) are scary. I’d rather put that money into the rotation, C and SS. And Cano, of course. Choo would be nice to have but I wouldn’t give him more than 4/60.

  • Pinkie Pie

    The Yankees have lots of options don’t they? This figures to be a much more interesting offseason than the last one.

    • RetroRob

      Lots of options and lots of needs.

      So, yes, it should!

  • CashmanNinja

    I wouldn’t touch Choo at $100+ mil, but if there’s a way we could get him at 5/$80 then you have to do it. Have to. I still like Beltran a bit because he won’t be as expensive/long term, but Choo is a great on-base guy, has decent power, and decent speed. In my opinion he’d be an absolute perfect fit in the #2 spot. Lead off with Jeter, have Choo after him, then Tex’s power could lead to lots of runs. Or they could plug Cano in there which would make more sense in my opinion because of his ability to hit for contact. Either way I feel Choo would be a great fit for this team. He would be like what Swisher brought to this team except he’d hit for a higher average, has more speed, but just a little less power. 5/$80…sign me up.

  • Vern Sneaker

    I wouldn’t do it. Raises the same issue as Cano but for a MUCH lesser talent, he’s 32 in July, past peak and already slightly declining, and we’d have to keep him until age 37 for mucho $$.

    • mitch

      I wouldn’t say he’s passed his peak considering he’s coming off his best offensive season. I think he would be a monster at Yankee Stadium. He destroys RHP. He’s obviously not great vs LHP, but he still gets on base at a decent clip. Surround him with lefty mashers like Soriano and Tex and I don’t think it’d be a big issue.

      Having said that, i’d put him well below guys like McCann and SP on the free agency priority list.

      • jjyank

        Pretty much my thoughts on this as well.

  • John C

    Not a big fan of Choo. Not a very good outfielder and not overly impressive vs. lefties. Plus, Scott Boras is his agent and he is gonna shoot for the moon. Not worth losing a draft pick over IMO.

  • Vern Sneaker

    If we’re going to spend this kind of money for an outfielder, I’d much rather go short-term (2 years) for Beltran, who would also be a nice DH. He’s better than Choo even at 37.

  • Greg

    I’d pass on all these guys. Keep the picks, give Grandy and Kuroda QO and they’ll probably accept. Hope the kids will get ready. Sign the Taiwanese pitcher. Call it a day.

  • Darren

    “That ball had a ticket on the Choo -choo express! I’m feeling guilty but it ain’t no Shin! So Soo me, Susan!”

    “Oh, Jawn.”

  • Jonathan

    How often does a corner OFer of that caliber hit the market? Now how often does a catcher of McCann’s caliber hit the market? When was the last time? Pudge in 2004? Piazza in 1999? I’d much rather get McCann and Granderson/Beltran than just Choo. Perfect fit for our needs, our ballpark and a bridge until Murphy/Sanchez can take over. McCann can switch to the VMart role of C/1B/DH in the final stage.

    Peralta or Drew
    late inning reliever

    C McCann
    1B Teixeira
    2B Cano
    SS Jeter and Drew or Peralta
    3B ARod unless suspended/Drew or Peralta if suspended
    LF Granderson
    CF Gardner
    RF Beltran
    DH Soriano

    SP Sabathia
    SP Kuroda
    SP Tanaka
    SP Nova
    SP Phelps/Warren/Nuno/Pineda etc

    RP Robertson
    RP FA signing
    RP Kelley

    All are free agents and trades for players of equal ability would obviously work too but would cost precious prospects vs draft picks. Perhaps you pass on one of Beltran/Granderson if you can get a quality SP.

    • Rain

      “How often does a corner OFer of that caliber hit the market?”

      If Choo signs a contract with Yankees this winter, he will instantly become the best hitter on the team.

      Choo: .393wOBA, 151wRC+
      Cano: .384wOBA, 142wRC+

      Choo: .374wOBA, 135wRC+
      Cano: .368wOBA, 126wRC+

      • Jonathan

        Players have value past their wOBA you know. Cano is a very good fielder at premium position, as is McCann while Choo is a poor defender in any OF position and needs a platoon partner. You’d be paying for a career year on an already bad defender that will be 32 next year.

        And the difference between what you’re likely to get going from Choo to Beltran or Granderson is so much smaller than the difference between McCann and any other available catcher? Perhaps you buy into Salty’s career year and don’t worry that he can’t throw anyone out and also struggles with platoon issues. I’d love to add Choo but there’s no way they’re adding both Choo and McCann and catcher is MUCH more important than a corner OF spot. I think the Soriano trade showed how much easier it is to replace a corner OFer vs a catcher. You would really choose Choo and Stewart over Granderson/Beltran and McCann?

  • http://www.draftstreet.com/register.aspx?r=Jedile Jedile

    Pass on choo, I don’t think he ages well. Most azns don’t.

    • mitch

      What’s an azn?

  • Frank

    “Most azns don’t.”

    Way to go. Moron.

    • mitch

      I was giving him the benefit of the doubt that he Azn didn’t mean Asian. I can only think of two Asian outfielders and both were pretty darn good well into their mid-30s

  • detroit_yankee

    Why would you advocate “trading” draft picks for QO eligible players when one of the deepest holes in the franchise remains its weak farm system?

    I’d rather see the team continue to build on the better draft of 2013 and not continue to swap draft picks for some other team’s castoffs. If it’s a player who simply costs “money” without the comp pick, wouldn’t it make more sense to target those players first?

  • BigheadKay

    Choo?? Come on…the chance that Cano will leave is reasonably high….we need a proven bat to replace that firepower, and the only bat I see to replace that offense is none other than Jacoby Ellsbury. The Yanks need to make a play for this kid…great fielder, good power, excellent speed, and not afraid to run as some of the other fast Yankees have been.
    Lose Granderson. Love the guy, but he just strikes out far too much and hits too many homers with the bases empty.
    Teixiera will be back, and if I am Girardi I INSIST that he RE-LEARN how to hit the ball the other way! The shift other teams put on for the pull happy Yankees is ridiculous…it counts their chances down of getting hit!! Teixiera could BUNT for a double fercryinoutloud!! Yet his pig headedness in LEARNING to be a team player is maddening. He can still swing for the fences in MOST situations….but the SHIFT has to end. A 240’s batting average for a guy who came to the Yankees as a career NEAR .300 hitter is not acceptable. Kevin Long should be WHIPPED for his inability to get that situation turned around. he stinks as a hitting coach….get RID of him. Get a guy who can teach ‘situational hitting 101’…get this team playing BASEBALL…not homerun derby…and maybe we’ll see the Yankess be able to have a 2nd & 3rd with nobdy out situation next year and actually SCORE both of those runs as opposed to NONE.

    • YankeeEmpire

      Agree–Elsbury a good choice. And, he plays hard.

  • RetroRob

    If the Yankees were to sing Choo and say another free agent of three who also have QO’s attached, but in turn then lost Cano and Granderson, who had QO’s attached, do they lose their supplemental picks for Cano and Granderson? Or do they keep those supplemental picks, but lose their first, second, third, etc. picks?

  • nycsportzfan

    Choo’s a great fit for this team, and just the kinda player we need. Hes a bit Paul O’neill like, with a bit more speed(pauly would steal a bag from time to time), and has power, albeit not monster power, and hits for AVG. He dosen’t have a Pauly rocket in RF, but there are some similarities. I would love to bring him in.

    To me, this would be a great offseason

    Sign Brian Wilson
    Sign Cano
    Sign Choo
    Resign both Ryan and Reynolds
    Sign Maholm
    Sign Tanaka
    Sign Salty(won’t be able to afford McCann if we sign Choo and Cano)

    Brett Gardner CF
    Derek Jeter SS
    Robbie Cano 2B
    Alphonso Soriano LF
    Mark Texiera 1B
    Shin Soo Choo RF
    Mark Reynolds 3B
    Jarod Saltalamachia C
    Eduardo Nunez DH?


    Robertson and Wilson back end of bullpen..

  • YankeeEmpire

    Do not get Choo. Doesn’t hit or field well enough at age 32 to fill an OF spot. Lets work on getting minor leaguers a chance.

  • tommy cassella

    why all the talk about getting choo ?,i thought the yanks were going after carlos beltran.

  • qwerty

    If Choo is going to cost the yankees the 18th pick then I say pass.

  • BluesPlayer17

    A lot of thoughts for this off season..! I like the thought of Elsbury, depending on cost rather then Choo. Granderson might be a cheap one year deal since his was injured all year. Then I like the idea of Tanaka too. So Cano, Tanaka, maybe Elsbury & Granderson. If This is an under $189mil thing I’d stick with Cervelli next season. Perhaps if this can be done under the 189, then next year we the Yankees can go back to their business…! There’s so many things to tend too. Lets see what happens.!

  • John

    Go RedSox!!